CORPUS CHRISTI, TX: First set of soil results for Dona Park show that several properties are highly contaminated
Corpus Christi, Texas. Several years after
abandoning the Dona Park soil contamination crisis the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed to re-open the Dona Park case late last
summer after meeting with members of Citizens for Environmental Justice (CFEJ).
The Citizens for Environmental Justice (CFEJ), have
raised concerns repeatedly through the years about the botched remediation
efforts from the 1990s; the methodology used by the state to conduct the soil
sampling and the fact that both ASARCO and the state abandoned the issue before
it was ever completed.
Now the results from Phase 1 are in and the
preliminary data show that several properties are contaminated with heavy
metals, including lead and cadmium above the clean up levels. “These results
show what we already knew, that TCEQ abandoned the remediation efforts in the
1990s, leaving us on contaminated land,” said Tammy Foster, a long time Dona
Park resident and Citizens for Environmental Justice Dona Park Chair.
“We’ll never know how many people have been
adversely impacted through the decades from living on property highly
contaminated by heavy metals,” said Suzie Canales, Executive Director of CFEJ.
“It’s rewarding to see though that our activism resulted in the re-opening of
this case and possibly helping numerous residents. So far, TCEQ has been
working well with us and including us in every step. This is important in the
success of this renewed effort.”
February, 1994 – TCEQ (formerly Texas Natural
Resource Conservation Commission, TNRCC) conducted soil sampling at Dona Park,
Oak Park and Hillcrest. The highest levels of heavy metals (i.e. Lead, Cadmium
and Zinc) were detected in the Dona Park Area. This was attributed to
operations of the former zinc smelter owned by American Smelter and Refining
March 1, 1994 – TCEQ issues a Press Release
announcing a meeting to be held at St. Theresa’s Church for March 7, 1994 to
discuss additional soil sampling, this time focused on the Dona Park area. TCEQ
went on to say that a clean-up of properties would be conducted that had lead
levels above 500 parts per million (ppm); cadmium levels above 50 ppm.
April 1994 – soil sampling was conducted of the
Dona Park area by combining soil from two residential lots.
May 1994 - TCEQ issues the results of the soil results
and announces that they will conduct more testing for the “hot spots.”
June, 1994 – TCEQ conducts another round of soil
February 6, 1995 – Eight (8) months after the
June re-sampling event, the TCEQ issues a letter to residents containing the results
Subsequently, clean up was done of some of the
residential properties then ASARCO filed for bankruptcy.
October and November 2003 - ASARCO sends
TCEQ letters regarding their “intentions” to clean up yards with elevated heavy
metals. However, neither ASARCO nor TCEQ thoroughly followed through.
To see data from Phase 1: TCEQ
For more information, please contact:
Tammy Foster, CFEJ, Dona Park Chair: 361-688-3666
Suzie Canales, CFEJ, Executive Director: