July 11, 2010 - Kathryn Mbwelera stands in her front yard, despite the blazing heat, pointing across the street to where the ground is filled with poison.
"Nobody’s going to make me believe I’m not at risk and that I haven’t been at risk," Mbwelera says. “The health risks these chemicals pose – we’ve experienced them all."
The chemicals are chlorinated solvents that are in the soil and groundwater beneath the former Wayne Metal Protection plant, a defunct metal plating company at 1511 Wabash Ave. on the east side of the city near Memorial Park.
The contamination has spread northeast from the shuttered plant, toward Memorial Park Middle School; Mbwelera’s house is immediately north of the plant.
The chemicals move easily in groundwater, and their vapors can move upward through soil into homes and buildings.