San Diego

State's Dept. of Toxic Substances Control Takes Over Investigation of El Cajon Toxic Plume

The investigation, done by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, was in a transition process to California's Department of Toxic Substance Control

An investigation into a toxic plume in an El Cajon neighborhood has been turned over to California's Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC).

A spokesperson for DTSC confirmed the transition to NBC 7 on Wednesday.

In Oct. 2016, the San Diego Water Board informed residents living on the 700 block of Greenfield Drive of voluntary testing for possible contaminants in the air and groundwater.

The San Diego Water Board is testing the air and ground soil along Greenfield Drive in El Cajon, because toxic plumes from an old aerospace plant may have contaminated the area. NBC 7’s Candice Nguyen spoke with concerned residents.

Read that notice here.

The air and ground soil on properties along Greenfield Drive in El Cajon could contain dangerous levels of toxins and chemicals. NBC 7’s Katia Lopez-Hodoyan heard from concerned residents in the area.

According to DTSC, the contaminants came from Ketema/AMETEK, an aerospace manufacturing facility that has been operating since the 1950s on Greenfield Drive.

The contamination was discovered after testing in 1987--environmental agencies have been monitoring the soil and groundwater since and have been taking steps to clean up the contamination.

AMETEK has installed a groundwater remediation system at the facility on Greenfield Drive to reduce the concentration of chemicals in the water.

On Wednesday, DTSC informed NBC 7, the investigation, done by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), was in the transition process to their agency.

According to the spokesperson, DTSC has "more specialized resources (staff) to deal with the contamination from the site" and will take over.

At this point, it is unknown the number of properties impacted by the toxic plume.

In a statement, the spokesperson said:

Investigation of the soil vapor plume began at the fence line between Magnolia Elementary School and the surrounding community in September 2016 under the oversight of the RWQCB, and has been extended since then to the West and North, which is the direction of groundwater and contaminant flow. Additional investigation has included soil vapor sampling further to the North and West, and indoor air sampling at some residences of the mobile home parks. The future extent of soil vapor and indoor air testing will be determined based on sampling results, which are under review by DTSC. The Department is in the process of communicating the results of the preliminary investigations with the property owners and residents of the area.

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