In the community of Carousel, near Los Angeles, Calif., residents are living in “third world conditions” with clogged drains, mold growing up walls, fungus, noxious odors and droves of flies due to disintegrated sewage pipes from the oil contamination in the soil, according to a report by the Daily Breeze.
Carousel is a community of 285 homes built on top of a former underground oil tank farm belonging to Shell Oil Company. Eight years ago, through soil testing, the ground around the homes was found to be caked with toxic chemicals such as benzene.
Even though the $146 million cleanup plan is underway, the residents’ issue with corroding pipes is worsening. The city leaders of Carson are working with the state water board to try to help the Carousel community, but no decisions have been made.
“This is really an issue the residents shouldn’t have to bear the cost on,” said Ken Farfsing, City Manager. “We’ve taken this very seriously and are spending a lot of time working on it to come up with an equitable solution.”
The cleanup project is estimated to take six years, tackling eight homes at a time, with a projection of more than 4 million cubic feet of contaminated soil excavated and trucked away. The project scoops away the soil in the yards of each home, but doesn’t include cleaning out the soil beneath the homes, threatening protected underground drinking water reserves.
Benzene exposure is a danger that the American Cancer Society warns against. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene has been linked to increased risk of developing Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).