Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis testified on the final recommendations by the Independent Review Panel on DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control) before the Joint Committees on Environmental Toxics. Supervisor Solis criticized DTSC’s approach on Exide as slow and ineffective, and she presented LA County’s plan as a faster and more comprehensive alternative.
“DTSC’s inadequate and slow response to Exide is not trusted by our local communities,” said Supervisor Solis. “DTSC has not provided the appropriate support, transparency, or leadership for these suffering and neglected neighborhoods. LA County’s recommendation is supported by our affected residents, and I have been trying to work with DTSC to improve and expand their plan. Today I was proud to bring the voices of our communities and this fight to Sacramento.”
Supervisor Solis also brought hundreds of signed petitions to Sacramento from community members demanding that LA County’s plan should be implemented.
Supervisor Solis argued that there are three critical problems with DTSC’s current cleanup plan. First, DTSC’s parcel-by-parcel approach leaves many homes on high-risk blocks completely uncleaned. Contamination often spreads by people or wind, and lead contamination from the uncleaned surrounding parcels will make its way onto the formerly-cleaned up parcel. LA County recommends a comprehensive block-by-block cleanup.
Second, DTSC’s plan completely excludes the parkways of affected properties. Pathways are the piece of land between the curb and the sidewalk that are adjacent to each residence. Children often play in the parkways, and the lead contamination can be carried to the rest of the property by people, animals, and wind. LA County recommends that the parkways be cleaned.
Third, DTSC’s interior “opt-in” cleanup plan is insufficient. In fact, DTSC assumes that only 50% of homes will opt-in to interior cleaning, which will be done by a third party without oversight or pre- or post-cleaning testing. Without testing before or after cleaning, it is impossible to determine if the cleaning was effective. LA County recommends a pre-cleanup interior assessment, implementation of a rigorous interior cleanup protocol, and post-cleanup confirmation sampling to confirm the cleanup was effective.
Today’s hearing follows a hearing that Supervisor Solis testified at two years ago to request funding for the residential cleanup. 50 community residents came to Sacramento to join Supervisor Solis in testifying. Following that hearing, Governor Brown identified $176.6 million to begin to address the contamination caused by Exide in the surrounding neighborhoods. Today, approximately $125 million remains in that fund, but this money was not included in the Governor’s Budget. Today, Supervisor Solis asked the Legislature to reauthorize the extension of these funds in this year’s Budget.
To date, only 260 homes — and only 26 homes with elevated levels of lead — have been cleaned. LA County estimates more than 5,000 parcels need to be cleaned.
Michael Kapp, Communications Director, (213) 974-4111 or firstname.lastname@example.org