Latest Stories

City with many Fil-Am residents declares toxic emergency


CARSON, California-The city council put pressure on Shell Oil to clean up a toxic site by declaring an environmental emergency in a 50-acre portion of this city, known as Carousel 50, which has 265 homes.

Carson has a population of some 80,000, of whom 18,000 are Filipinos. Residents started getting sick from undetected effluents left behind in land formerly occupied by an oil refinery.

“We knew that years ago this used to be a refinery,” said Sylvia Torres, daughter of Carousel homeowners, “but we didn’t know that there was something still here.”

Torres said they realized something was wrong “because when they were digging in our neighbors’ front yard my parents were getting nauseous and dizzy.” They had to tell them to stop digging, she said.

“My parents were at the emergency meeting. Basically, we’re in danger,” stated Sylvia Torres, daughter of Carousel homeowners. “They need to do right at this point and get my parents re-situated somewhere safe.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Elito M. Santarina, a Filipino-American, moved a resolution stating “Delay is unacceptable to the Carson City Council and to our entire community” and signed by Carson Mayor Jim Dear on August 1.

The city asked the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to immediately compel Shell Oil to fully comply with a cleanup and abatement order.

The cleanup order is specified for a depth of 10 feet. The contamination has existed more than 40 years and could be contaminated to up to 40 feet.

Shell conducted an investigation to determine if the site poses an immediate risk to those living, visiting, or working in the area.

An interim report on October 15th, 2009 confirmed that soil and groundwater beneath the site was severely contaminated. Petroleum hydrocarbons, methane and benzene, exceeded the lower explosive limit (LEL).

Benzene, a known carcinogen, was detected at a concentration of 3,800,000 micrograms per meter cube, 100,000 times more than the California Human Health Screening Level (CHHSL) concentration value of 36.2.

Methane gas poses a fire and explosion hazard when it accumulates in an enclosed space with a source of ignition.

“It has been about five years since the contamination has been discovered,” stated Mayor Dear. “The City of Carson decided to take action over a year ago, but the filing of the lawsuit was just recent,” he added.

Carousel homes were selling for $400,000-600,000 but are now valued from $200,000 to $375,000.

“Shell should purchase every home in Carousel Tract, demolish the homes and clean the soil completely and rebuild something at the site,” said Dear.

The city council is informing California Governor Jerry Brown of the emergency for possible immediate assistance from the state.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: contaminants , environmental emergency , Features , Filipino Americans , Global Nation , Pollution , Shell

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Bus kills pedestrian before falling into Olongapo City ravine – report
  • Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  • Group: Bataan cop killed to stop him from exposing colleagues linked to drug ring
  • Chemical Engineer licensure examination
  • Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension
  • Sports

  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Marketplace