State officials are expected to be out in East Los Angeles on Friday to ask home owners for permission to test their soil for lead contamination. It’s the latest in the Exide cleanup where the former battery recycling plant has spread lead across East LA, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Huntington Park, Bell, Vernon, and Maywood.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control, the state agency overseeing the cleanup, is planning to test 10,000 properties and clean 2,500 of them by July 2018. But residents are urging a faster plan. EGP News reports at a State Committee Hearing last week, residents from the Eastside criticized the slow process that is delaying cleanup.
The DTSC must prepare a report to examine the effect the cleanup will have on the local community. The report, which will take months to complete is called an Environmental Impact Report. It is required in order to comply with environmental regulations known as the California Environmental Quality Act.
Part of the Environmental Impact Report includes involving community voices to influence the final process. EGP News reports that public comment period began on June 16 and continues through July 18.
According to the DTSC, as of June 15, they have tested 1,988 properties and cleaned up 226. Of the properties already examined, only 5 do not need to be cleaned.
In April, Governor Jerry Brown, signed legislation delivering $177 million towards testing and cleanup of lead in contaminated areas. Boyle Heights Beat youth reporter Samantha Olmos reported that many residents remain angry after decades of inaction.
The DTSC is encouraging people who live within 1.7 miles of the former Exide plant to voluntarily sign up for soil testing. You can go online to ExideCleanup.org to start that process.