Last update:
2015-05-07

Underregulated hazardous waste facility by Western Environmental in California, USA


Description:

Western Environmental Incorporated (WEI) is located in Mecca, on tribal land owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (CBMI) [1]. WEI is a contaminated soil recovery and recycling facility that accepts and processes petroleum and pesticide contaminated soils as well as soil containing lead and other heavy metals.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Underregulated hazardous waste facility by Western Environmental in California, USA
Country:translation missing: en.countries.united_states_of_america
State or province:California
Location of conflict:Mecca
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, water contaminated with oil, and soy-whey waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

There have been more than 215 odor complaints and more than 70 field investigations [6].

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Affected Population:300-9,000
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Western Environmental Inc- Mecca (WEI- Mecca) from United States of America - Origin of odors
Relevant government actors:South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (CBMI), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsnausea, vomiting, headaches, and cold or flu-like symptoms
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Environmental testing has been done and, to date, there have been no elevated levels of toxic pollutants detected in the community. However, there are still known health impacts resulting from exposure to strong and objectionable odors, and the SCAQMD takes these health impacts seriously (http://www.aqmd.gov/home/library/air-quality-data-studies/special-monitoring/odor-investigations---mecca-ca).
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Western Environmental Inc: Mecca, Riverside County [1]
[click to view]

Investigations and Air Sampling in Mecca, CA: Status Report March 31, 2011 [2]
[click to view]

WEI Soil Stockpile Report April 2012 [3]
[click to view]

Presentation: Evaluation Survey of WEI by Robert Kou at Department of Toxic Substance Control [4]
[click to view]

WEI Evaluation Survey Report May 2012 DTSC [5]
[click to view]

AQMD Cites Western Environmental Inc. for Foul Odors in Mecca May 13, 2011 [6]
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Associated Press story on the odor in Mecca, CA
[click to view]

Other documents

Composting piles Composting piles at Western Environmental sprayed with a chemical sealant to minimize odors
[click to view]

Mecca Status Report [7] Report by the AQMD in March 2011
[click to view]

April 2011 WEI Notice to Customers
[click to view]

WEI Bar Chart of Waste
[click to view]

Composting piles at facility
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Bernadette Grafton and Paul Mohai, [email protected] and [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update07/05/2015
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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