By: Nathan Lamb
Leaks from an old oil field are causing health concerns in California, and officials are hoping to spur quicker cleanup, according to this story from the Los Angeles Times.
The contamination—which includes the carcinogen benzene—was discovered in 2008 beneath Carson city's Carousel tract, which is now a residential area with 285 homes.
Cleanup is being handled jointly by state officials and the Shell Oil Company, and is not expected to get underway until next year.
The declaration of emergency was recently suggested by Carson's mayor, in an effort to spur more immediate action.
Shell has stated there is no immediate threat to public health. The company is currently doing vapor testing at area homes and is putting together a comprehensive cleanup plan.
Residents of the Carousel tract have been told to avoid exposed yard soils and to not eat home-grown fruits or vegetables.
According to a recent report from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Carousel tract was a tank park used to store crude oil from 1920-1965. The study suggested that cracks and leaks in the concrete basins that contained the oil led to the contamination before the area was redeveloped in the late '60s.
The water control board study also found groundwater pollution in the area and crude oil in one local well, but no evidence of harmful vapors intruding into homes.
Carson is approximately 20 miles north of Los Angeles and has a population of roughly 91,000.