Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/14/2011 09:55:59 PM PDT

RIALTO – Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, asked a congressional subcommittee Wednesday to act on his legislation requiring the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a study of the Rialto-Colton water basin that focuses on its perchlorate plume.

H.R. 200, the Inland Empire Perchlorate Ground Water Plume Assessment Act, would provide new details about the plume, which potentially affects 500,000 people.

Rialto Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott, who also spoke before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power on Wednesday, said in a phone interview that the USGS study would provide new information about faults in the basin, where the plume is and where it might go.

“They have already done some work there. This would be a lot more,” Scott said.

Baca introduced similar legislation during the last Congress. H.R. 4252 was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives and was passed by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. But the bill did not come to the floor of the Senate before the 111th Congress came to an end.

Perchlorate, a rocket fuel additive, is known to interfere with the creation of hormones that are critical to the development of fetuses and infants.

Since its detection in 1997, a perchlorate plume in the Rialto-Colton basin has continued to move through the aquifer, resulting in the shutdown of nearly a quarter of Rialto’s 22 wells.

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