Residents of the southern Dallas neighborhood, which was once home to the six-story industrial landfill known as Shingle Mountain, are calling on the city to pay for further testing for contaminants after an environmental survey found high levels of lead in the soil at the site. showed.
In June, as part of a lawsuit against the company operating the site, the city took over the 4.3 hectares of land where 100,000 tons of roofing material had been piled. Shingle Mountain, a towering public health hazard and a monument to the years of terrible public policies that created these kinds of environmental hazards in neglected neighborhoods, had been cleared. Neighbors and activists called for a park to put in place. City council members patted themselves on the shoulder for taking long-awaited steps to ‘correct a mistake’, although the… time the city refused to reveal the contents of an environmental assessment it had carried out of the site.
“They made that press release [about acquiring the property]said Marsha Jackson, who lives next door to the site and has spent years pushing City Hall to take action. “So why didn’t they make the press release that the property was full of lead?”
The environmental assessment, quietly published online this summer, only recently came to the attention of Jackson, who is co-chair of the Neighbors United/Vecinos Unidos neighborhood association. According to the report, conducted by the firm Modern Geosciences, soil samples taken at the former Shingle Mountain site showed levels of lead “above expected background levels.” Other screened contaminants were not detected in the soil or groundwater samples above the “housing criteria”.
Four soil samples showed between 1,220 and 1,450 parts per million of lead — more than three times the 400 ppm residential cleanup standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency. There is “no safe level of lead exposure in children, which, according to the CDC, can suffer from serious developmental problems caused by exposure. The discovery of lead contamination near a West Dallas smelter in the 1980s was accompanied by the smelter’s closure and year Superfund clearance. Contagion was still present decades later.
“We have children here,” said Jackson, who said the city had been silent about the results of the environmental assessment and the discovery of high levels of lead in the soil. “This is our neighborhood. This is our community. Everything that happens here, they have to let us know.”
Evelyn Mayo, a paralegal and fellow at Paul Quinn College’s Urban Research Initiative, said she and the neighborhood association asked for a briefing from the city after the report was published in June, but “got nothing.” The city did not respond to questions about the lead levels described in the environmental assessment early Monday morning, but I will update this post if I hear anything.
Jackson wants Dallas to pay for an environmental assessment of those residents’ properties near the site. That includes all the houses on Choate Street, where she lives. Children who lived near the landfill should receive medical attention. And residents should get “blood lead tests,” she says. “They should pay as much attention to the people as they do to the property.”
Since the fanfare that accompanied the city’s purchase of the former Shingle Mountain site, Jackson says the only attention she and others in the Floral Farms neighborhood have received has been from enforcement officials. targeting lost trash cans and resident dogs. (Dallas Code enforcement changed its overall enforcement strategy this year, which also has attracted attention in other neighborhoods.) A department that for years ignored the gigantic mountain of toxic waste in its neighborhood is now fixated on “little things,” she says, such as leaving the trash can outside for too long. “They want to push us off our own territory.”
In the meantime, industrial activity continues right next door. Jackson spoke on the phone Monday, and Jackson’s voice was raucous and rattling, the result of nearby air pollution, she says. The park activists would like to see where Shingle Mountain once stood seems a long way off.
Further cleanup at the site should begin, Jackson says. Dallas has yet to correct his mistake. “Not next week,” she says. “Not tomorrow. Now.”