Bob Hope Airport officials have agreed to pay $2 million to Lockheed Martin Corp. in exchange for a guarantee from the aerospace company that it will cover the cost of what is expected to be a $108-million cleanup of contaminated groundwater under a portion of the airport.
Airport officials hailed the deal in an announcement Friday as an economical solution to a problem that could have cost much more. Lockheed spokesman Gary Cambre said the settlement "is fair and equitable," with the airport paying its share of costs and Lockheed Martin agreeing to work with the EPA and the other potentially responsible parties.
In July 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency named the airport, Lockheed and others as potentially responsible parties for toxic groundwater caused by aircraft manufacturing during and after World War II. The EPA estimated the potential cost of the cleanup at $108 million.
Airport officials said the facility is not responsible for any of the soil pollution and sued Lockheed to force it to accept liability. They said Lockheed agreed in 1978 — when it sold the property that is now the airport — to pay eventual cleanup costs.