Health Survey in Fillmore

posted Jul 31, 2012, 10:36 AM by Unknown user

For immediate release:

July, 2012

Health Survey in Fillmore

There is a rumor that there is a higher rate of respiratory illness and cancer in Fillmore due to the presence of the oil refinery across Pole Creek.  If you purchase a home adjacent to the site, the realtors are required to notify you of potential hazards associated with the site.  Yet no one has ever confirmed or refuted this rumor.  There has been lots of testing of the ground, water and air, but no testing of the persons living in the area.

Youth, staff and adult volunteers from  One Step a la Vez (a teen program in Fillmore) are conducting a survey to get scientific information about the health effects of the toxic waste site.    Under the supervision of  Dr. James Dahlgren (Environmental Toxicologist) and his staff  they are  conducting a survey of residents to the west of the refinery site.  The survey began on August 1st and will continue until completed.  Volunteers will be going door to door asking for residents to fill out a health history form.  If you live near Pole Creek, please participate in the study.  The more participants who share information , the more accurate the study. 

The information will be kept completely confidential   Each participant will be assigned a number.  No names will be used.  The results will be tabulated as a group (not as individuals) and the results will be made public.    

According to the EPA website “From 1920 to 1952, the 56-acre Pacific Coast Pipeline site was operated by Texaco as an oil refinery. During this time, refinery wastes were deposited into unlined waste pits. The largest waste pit was located on the western boundary of the site. In 1980, Texaco requested permission from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) to use refinery wastes to resurface on-site service roads. During site investigations, the LARWQCB detected lead at the site. Between 1981 and 1984, Texaco performed an environmental assessment of the site. Soil and groundwater were found to be contaminated with heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Approximately 10,000 people obtain drinking water and as many as 4,000 acres of agricultural land are irrigated from wells within 3 miles of the site. The site is secured by a barbed-wire fence. The Santa Clara River is located within 1 mile of the site.”

Chevron joined with Texaco and has since come to an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to begin  clean-up of the site.  The clean-up  is scheduled to be completed in 50 years.  According to the Chevron and EPA documents, once the site is cleaned up, it  will be safe for short term use (no one will ever be allowed to stay overnight).  The City of Fillmore is presently looking at plans for the future use of the site.

The One Step a la Vez youth are working on the survey as a part of their efforts to improve the community.  Another topic they are working on is to improve transportation for the Santa Clara Valley.  If you are interested in volunteering to help in either take the survey or to help administer the Health Survey or to be involved in the Transportation committee, please contact Cindy Escoto at 910-6642 or Lynn Edmonds  at 907-6576.  Volunteers are always welcome!