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Site cleanup finally begins in Willowbrook

Zion Smith, 9, on the playground of the mostly deserted Ujima Village complex.… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Zion Smith, 9, on the playground of the mostly deserted Ujima Village complex.… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Growing up I had many classmates who lived in Ujima Village, which sat behind Magic Johnson Park off El Segundo Blvd.  The housing development was closed in 2009, after discovering that the land, previously held by the Athens Tank Farms, left the soil contaminated. 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.

Residents living in the low-income housing started to get sick and develop ailments including cancer.  All of the residents have since been relocated and the buildings town down.  THe County of LA has finally announced that the clean up is beginning and the community look forwards to no longer being fearful that their water is contaminated too.

You may recall City of Carson residents living in the Carousel tract, are also living on top of contaminated land.  Although Shell Oil Co. has been ordered to clean up the tract, they have so far refused to.  City mayor, Jim Dear, has declared a public emergency to kick Shell’s asses into gear.  You can read Shell’s response here.  How did LA County get ExxonMobil to comply with teh California Regional Water Quality Control Board while Carson can’t get Shell to cooperate?

Read more about the clean up of Ujima Village by clicking here and the lawsuit the residents filed here.  Oil companies sure have a way of contaminating the land that poor people eventually end up living on.


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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