Central Metal Site Investigation: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
EPA will continue to update this list of FAQs periodically as new questions are received and will post them on the Central Metal website.
Why does EPA do site investigations?
EPA does a site investigation to see:
- what hazardous substances may be present at the site,
- whether these substances are being released to the environment, and
- if these substances pose a potential threat to human health.
How will the investigation benefit the community?
The investigation will see if there are elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other potential contaminants in the community. This work is important because lead, arsenic and other metals could cause health effects.
What will residential soil test results be used for?
EPA will use the results from the soil tests to see if contamination from the Central Metal site has blown onto nearby properties. EPA will then use the test results to see if the site:
- is eligible to be listed on the National Priority List (NPL) for cleanup as a Superfund NPL site;
- is not eligible for the NPL, but should be cleaned up by another EPA program;
- should be referred to the State of California for follow-up; or
- does not require any further action.
Who is doing the sampling and how long will it take?
EPA and its contractors will do the soil sampling. There will be six to eight people on each property for about an hour to do the sampling.
Who will pay for the residential soil sampling?
EPA will pay for all residential soil sampling work.
If sampling personnel trips or is injured while doing the sampling am I liable?
No, you are not liable.
What is the soil being tested for?
EPA is testing the soil in residential yards for metals, including arsenic and lead.
How much soil will be removed during sampling?
Only a few cups of soil will be removed at each sampling location. All soil removed will be replaced with clean soil. If you had grass before sampling, the grass will be added back.
How were the sampling locations selected?
EPA is sampling a portion of Florence-Firestone and Walnut Park neighborhoods because they are located close to the Central Metal site. EPA selected a specific area within those neighborhoods for testing soil based on wind patterns blowing from the Central Metal site. The sampling area is where EPA thought contamination may have blown to based on these patterns. The soil collected from residential yard’s will be tested to see if hazardous waste from the Central Metal site has blown into these areas. Not all properties in these areas will be sampled.
Why is sampling taking so long?
Residential soil sampling is a complex process that takes time to plan and implement, and COVID-19 has only made it more difficult. Two planned sampling events, one in Fall 2020 and a second in Fall 2021, had to be canceled due to difficulties in securing Access Agreements from enough homes and COVID-19 related constraints on staff travel and work. We recognize that these delays are frustrating, and we are actively working towards renewing our efforts to obtain Access Agreements, which will allow us to move forward with residential soil sampling.
How will I receive my personal sampling results?
EPA will provide results to the owner and/or tenants of each residential yard sampled. If there are soil samples with elevated levels of contamination, EPA will contact residents to explain the information and next steps. Additionally, after the sampling event, a summary of the residential soil sampling results will be in a Site Inspection Report. No personal information of the homes sampled will be shared publicly.
The Los Angeles Public Health Department is the lead agency for health-related questions associated with the Central Metal site. For more health-related questions, please contact Elena Hoeppner from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health at (626) 430-9822 or email@example.com.
I have been living here for a really long time. Have I been in contact with metals in the past?
We can’t determine risks from the Central Metal site until testing is done. Testing results will show if there is contamination from Central Metal in your yard. Aside from Central Metal, there may be other exposures to metals in the environment, such as through automobile leaded gas, lead paint, fertilizers, among others. If you have any health-related questions related to exposure to metals, please contact Elena Hoeppner from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health at (626) 430-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.