BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) — The results from soil samples taken from homes near the now-defunct Exide Technologies battery-recycling facility in Vernon were released on Wednesday evening.
Dozens of residents in the area gathered at Resurrection Church in Los Angeles to hear the results of more soil sampling.
Soil from 146 properties was tested, including Terry Cano’s, whose soil tested above 1,000 parts per million. A healthy level is below 100.
“I’m scared because I have a child and I’ve lived there my whole life,” Cano said.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control found that one-third of the samples tested were within the safe level but two-thirds were above that.
DTSC experts say their findings are troubling.
“We want to go back and try to figure out why we have that kind of number. Why is it all over the place? We didn’t see a clear pattern,” Rizgar Ghazi of DTSC said.
The testing marks the second round of sampling. In December, the DTSC says 74 properties were cleaned up after the agency found high levels of lead.
Exide shut down its battery recycling operations in March. The company has admitted that it illegally stored, shipped, and disposed of hazardous waste and were ordered to set aside nearly $40 million for the cleanup and closure.
The company already faces many lawsuits, including one that alleges a number of nearby residents died due to the pollution.
As of now, the DTSC says there’s no date of when they’ll start cleaning up the properties just tested, including Cano’s.
“We want to know what’s the next step for us,” Cano said.
Cleanup and removal of the Exide plant is expected to start in the spring of 2016 and take two years. By next week, they must present a plan on how they’ll safely do that.