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Environmental Official Calls Tijuana Soil Cleanup Historic

The final cleanup of an abandoned lead smelter in Tijuana starts in October. A San Diego group led efforts to get the Mexican government to pay for removing toxic soil. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more

Environmental Official Calls Tijuana Soil Cleanup Historic

The final cleanup of an abandoned lead smelter in Tijuana starts in October. A San Diego group led efforts to get the Mexican government to pay for removing toxic soil. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.

A San Diego-based owner operated the Tijuana smelting plant, but abandoned the operation in 1994 when charged with violating Mexican environmental laws. Several tons of lead-contaminated soil was left behind.

Ameila Simpson oversees border environmental issues for the National City-based Environmental Health Coalition . She calls the funding of the cleanup historic.

Simpson : This is the first time the Mexican government has worked with the community on cleanup of a toxic site. The money will, just a little under $1 million, completes the cleanup plan.

The initial cleanup started in 2004. She says the money will pay for the excavation of a pit on the site where contaminated waste mixed with concrete will be contained in a lined cell. The plan calls for the long-term monitoring of the site.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.