Waste Blamed For Sickening Odors Found Safe
State regulators are stopping more toxic soil from heading to an Eastern Coachella Valley plant, even after finding soil not to be hazardous.Photo: Video by kmir6.com
State regulators are stopping more toxic soil from heading to an Eastern Coachella Valley plant. Mecca residents say the plant is to blame for a sickening odor that plagued the community for the past few years.
Now a report release by California EPA says they tested the waste and it's not hazardous, but they are still raising a stink about the company's operations.
"We can only say that the pile there now don't pose a threat to the surrounding communities. But we still lack information about ground water data and if their operations are affecting groundwater," said Charlotte Fadipe, Spokesperson of the California Department of Toxic Substances.
The odor permeating Mecca reached its boiling point last May. Residents reported feeling sore throats and nausea from the stench.
One year later and much has changed. The sickening has largely gone, after community uproar led the state to ban shipments of hazardous waste to the facility.
The state has no authority over Western Environmental because it's on tribal land. But after finding 19 problems with the plant in its report, the state can and will continue to stop shipments of polluted soil to the site. State regulators want Western Environmental to take specific steps, such as using a double liner to keep the waste from seeping into the groundwater, before it will allow shipments of toxic waste.
"We are hoping we can start the dialogue and try to address these issues if this facility wants to continue to take california hazardous waste,"said Hamid Saebfar, Project Manager of California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
Regulators will have a community meeting to talk about their findings on May 17th at Saul Martinez Elementary at 6:30pm.
-Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News.