Photo by Art Torres

The state cleanup of lead contamination in 2,500 properties in Boyle Heights and other southeast Los Angeles communities is moving forward with a new plan released Wednesday.

KPCC reports the Department of Toxic Substances Control plans to clean up the soil at 50 properties each week focusing on the most at-risk areas affected in the fallout from the former Exide Technologies plant in Vernon. The work is expected to begin in the summer of 2017.

The DTSC  will target homes, schools, parks, daycares, and child care centers. The department  says children ingesting lead accounts for 99 percent of the risk posed from the contaminated soil. Exposure to pregnant women is also one of DTSC’s highest concerns.

A report on how the cleanup will affect the surrounding environment is also expected sometime in summer 2017. As of last month, at least 4,500 properties have been tested for lead contamination. DTSC plans to inspect 10,000 properties within a 1.7-mile radius of where Exide operated with new funding that came earlier this year –a $176.6 million loan issued by the state.

The community around the former battery recycling plant in Vernon continues to undergo testing and cleanup after it was discovered that soil in the surrounding area tested positive for dangerous levels of lead. Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Maywood, Bell, and Huntington Park have all been affected. Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that can cause learning and behavioral problems.

DTSC will hold several outreach meetings to solicit the public for comments including one in Boyle Heights. That meeting will be on Jan. 28, 2017 at Resurrection Church, 3324 Opal Street, starting at 9 a.m.

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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