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Carousel neighborhood of Carson: Home Sweet Home

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38At some point, the three underground tanks and drainage fields that had been connected to the Shell oil refinery began to leak oil and chemicals – turning a once-appealing neighborhood into a place where hundreds of homes sit atop 161,700 cubic yards of toxic sludge. Ultra-hazardous chemicals were found in the soil, including methane and benzene, which have been linked to melanoma and lymphoma.

EXTRACTS FROM AN ARTICLE BY MATT REYNOLDS PUBLISHED BY COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE ON 9 JAN 2015 UNDE THE HEADLINE:

“Shell close to $90M Payout for Toxic SoCal Neighborhood”

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A state court judge looks set to approve a $90 million settlement with residents of a Carson neighborhood sitting on top of a sludge of petroleum waste, pending a final objection from the oil giant’s developer co-defendant in the case.

Shell also entered into an agreement with the California water quality control board to spend $140 million to clean up the 50-acre neighborhood. That’s in addition to the $40 million Shell has already spent remediating the property.

Five years ago, residents of the Carousel neighborhood of Carson – 17 miles south of downtown L.A. – sued Shell Oil and real estate developer Barclay Hollander, with the support of high-profile environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Barclay is owned by multinational Dole Food Company.

The suit alleged the oil giant knew that hundreds of family homes would be built above three underground tanks when, in the late 1960s, it transferred part of the site to the developer.

Shell discovered that oil and carcinogenic chemicals had leaked into soil beneath the residential area that 1,491 people call home in 2009.

At some point, the three underground tanks and drainage fields that had been connected to the Shell oil refinery began to leak oil and chemicals – turning a once-appealing neighborhood into a place where hundreds of homes sit atop 161,700 cubic yards of toxic sludge.

Ultra-hazardous chemicals were found in the soil, including methane and benzene, which have been linked to melanoma and lymphoma.

For some residents of Carousel, the impact on their health and community has been obvious. Pets have had tumors; residents have been diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. Oil deposits have seeped into homes, and parents have taken to warning their children not to go outside and play in the grass.

Under the proposed cleanup plan, Shell will remove contaminated soil to 5 feet deep from 207 homes and to 10 feet from another 85 properties. In addition to replacing what it removes with clean soil, Shell will install a venting system at homes and in streets to disperse toxic fumes and will continue to monitor and remove oil from groundwater.

But there is no plan to remove the underground storage tanks.

Some residents likened the cleanup to a glorified landscaping job. Others noted that there was no contingency when an earthquake strikes.

FULL ARTICLE

RELATED: Shell Halts $90-Million Payout for Toxic Neighborhood after Judge Says Deal Can’t Be SecretScreen Shot 2015-01-07 at 18.44.37

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