Cleanup Remains Slow For Thousands Waiting For Exide Contamination Fix

BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) —  The Exide battery-recycling plant has been closed for two years.

But many of the millions of dollars set aside to clean up the contaminated land around 20,000 homes has still not been spent.

CBS2’s Randy Paige reports homeowners are beyond frustrated.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis is concerned people moving to the area don’t know about the contamination.

In October 2016,  Paige tested the levels of lead in front of one home and found hazardous amounts. He also found huge levels of lead in Terry Cano’s kitchen and her neighbor’s front yard, in the sides of their homes, the flowerbeds. All the usual places kids play.

The lawn hasn’t been touched.

“Saturday, June 10th is a big day for us,” says Solis

In fact, the day will be an unprecedented one. That day, outreach volunteers will begin going door to door at an estimated 20,000 homes within a 1.7 mile radius.

This area encompasses Boyle Heights, where Cano’s family has lived for generations.

“This contamination has taken; it has broken my family, and it’s broken me.” Cano said.

In early 2016, the governor announced $176 million in state money to be set aside to decontaminate the homes.

Today, only a handful of the homes have been cleaned-up.

What would Cano say to Governor Jerry Brown today?

“What’s taking so long?” she asked.

LA County’s director of environmental health is asking the same question.

“We’re going to look at all options available to the county to get it moving. And I wouldn’t rule out anything, We’re strongly committed to standing with the community to get the proper cleanup done. The fact it has to include the interiors of those homes, and the parkways in front of those homes, where children play,” said Angelo Bellomo.

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