Columbia, SC (WLTX) - DHEC will test for high levels of lead and arsenic in soil at home sites close to a Rosewood plant starting Wednesday.
"This neighborhood doesn't get a lot of attention," said Dremae Johnson who lives close to the plant with the contaminated soil. "For them to look after young people that like to play around and get wet in the summertime is really good."
The soil under the Seaco plant at the intersection of Commerce Drive and Tuller Drive in Columbia has high levels of arsenic and lead according to DHEC.
"Right now, it's not bothering anybody else but it is bad land or contaminated land," said Catherine Templeton, director of DHEC. "If we can clean it up, we want to do that."
Tuesday, Templeton estimated the soil would impact only 20 close by home sites.
"At the turn of the century, a fertilizer plant was there," said Templeton explaining how DHEC believes the contaminates arrived in the first place. "Not only was it on the asphalt plant, but it cheats over into the residential area. There are a number of things that lead and arsenic can do."
DHEC says because those contaminates are not airborne, the risk of them causing any harm is minimal. Still, they will attempt to test soil from homes close to the plant starting Wednesday.
"I would let them in because we like to play in our backyard a lot," said Johnson. "We like to play baseball and turn the sprinklers on. We don't want any contaminated soil."
Templeton said, "What we would like to do ultimately is test and test and test until we can draw a big green safe line around the soil and say this is the area and this is what needs to be cleaned up."