Environmental Clean Up Progressing at Ujima Village

In a long awaited milestone, a cleanup has begun at the former Ujima Village site and Magic Johnson Park in Willowbrook. Included in the work will be the use of a technology known as soil vapor extraction to remove volatile chemical compounds from the ground, as well as the excavation of small areas of the property.

Residents are invited to an open house sponsored by state and federal public health officials, from 1 -5 pm on August 17 , at Enterprise Park , to discuss any health concerns related to the site. Spanish interpretation services will also be available.

Now that the cleanup is underway, plans to re-imagine strategic uses for the existing 104 – acre park , as well as the 16 acres that previously comprised Ujima Village , also can begin. In the fall, there will be a community-driven process to decide how it will look and what new recreational facilities should be constructed.

When the old Athens Tank Farm was removed in the 1960s, contaminants were left in the soil, a source of concern for many years. For several years now, local, state and federal agencies have been gathering and analyzing data to determine whether the contamination poses a health risk. Soil, soil gas, groundwater and air samples ordered by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board have all indicated that the present levels of chemicals in the soil are not dangerous to human health.

The Regional Board has also ordered ExxonMobil, which owned the former oil site, to conduct soil vapor investigation and air quality monitoring at four schools near the site: Centennial High School, Los Angeles Adventist Academy, New Designs Charter School and Animo Watts College Preparatory Academy. ExxonMobil will install vapor probes within school properties as well as test for the presence of methane in school buildings , using a hand-held monitoring device. Work is already in progress at Los Angeles Adventist Academy and activity at other schools is expected to begin soon. All work will be conducted on weekends and after hours to minimize disruption to school activities.

In addition, several homes east of the park have been tested for soil vapor samples, outdoor air samples and air samples taken from crawl spaces beneath for methane, benzene and other volatile organic compounds and were found to not pose a risk to health.

For more information please go to: www.EnviroStor.dtsc.ca.gov