DHEC Tests for Possible Soil Contamination

6:37 PM, Jul 25, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The Department of Health and Environmental Control spent Wednesday morning testing soil at 41 homes in the Rosewood Area here in Columbia.

Officials say the soil under a nearby asphalt plant contains high levels of arsenic and lead.

Mary Jane Smalls has been watching over the Rosewood neighborhood from her front steps for decades.

"When I moved down here it wasn't anything but a bunch of weeds...I can remember in 1935 they hadn't even paved the streets yet." said the 90-year-old resident.

And just a few years later in 1938, a fertilizer plant shut down. Now, SEACO operates on that same property, the same place where the elevated levels of arsenic and lead where found just last week.

"We are out here collecting samples to further assess the situation." said Fran Marshall, State Toxicologist with DHEC.

Marshall and other DHEC employees went door to door asking residents for permission to get a soil sample from their yard.

Once they gathered all of the samples they went to the mobil testing lab on site for some preliminary testing.

Smalls says she isn't worried just yet.

"I am not concerned because i just learned about it, I have lived this long and it has not killed me."

DHEC says Rosewood residents use city water, not well water-so there shouldn't be any panic.

Officials hope to have the results back Monday.

DHEC also issued a report Wednesday saying initial samples show no detectable levels of lead in the Congaree River or Gills Creek.

Testing will continue.

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