New Round of Tests Underway at Park Near Battery Recycling Plant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Members of the Los Angeles County Health Department test soil at a park in East Los Angeles on Thursday, March 13, 2014. The park is near the beleaguered Exide battery plant that has been under fire.

    It was just a few days ago that a state report confirmed widespread lead contamination in the neighborhoods near the Exide Battery Recycling plant in Vernon.

    Los Angeles County officials ordered a new round of testing in East LA’s Salazar park, near Exide.

    The NBC4 I-team has learned workers form the LA County Health Department took more than 20 additional samples Thursday.

    Results came back Friday, and County officials say they "look good."

    Angelo Bellomo, the director of Environmental Health for LA County, says the tests were ordered after park employees and nearby residents voiced concern over lead contamination.

    Bellomo says the county is most concerned with areas of the park that contain exposed soil, like the baseball infield.

    Bellomo says all but three samples came back under 80 parts per million, considered the threshold for more comprehensive testing.

    He says, based on the newest round of tests, the soil at Salazar park "does not present a significant threat of exposure to park staff, visitors, or schools near the park."

    The state considers 400 parts per million to be hazardous.

    Still, the state has ordered more testing be done at neighborhoods near the Exide plant.

    A report issued this week showed elevated lead levels at Salazar Park, and in the backyards of all 39 homes that were tested.

    In a statement, Exide officials say they will "work cooperatively to conduct the requested additional sampling and the interim cleanup measures … (T)he company is committed to investing in the Vernon facility to further reduce emissions and protect public health."

    Neighbors say all of this is troubling.

    "I hope they take care of it," says Marco Gomez, who lives in the tree-lined neighborhood. "I think they should take all the lead out somehow.

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