Yup, I Thought So

I knew life was going along too good.  Things were going well and I knew the next bad thing was coming up soon, it always does.  Now it's not a huge big deal it's just a deal that bugs the heck out of me.  I need to explain things a bit first so you can understand.

We live near a smelter.  A smelter that used to pollute so badly all the trees died.  It's not bad anymore but they have left a legacy in the soil of heavy metals.  The soil we live on is actually too polluted for human habitation but we all inhabit on it.  They tell us as long as the soil stays covered and doesn't blow around, as long as you wet dust and keep your floors clean, take your shoes off at the door and wash your hands before eating you should be okay.  My children had to have blood lead level tests every year until they were 6 years old.  They always fell below any counts of concern which is good.  But it always worried me about that bit of lead that was in their systems.  It was from us living here in this place and who knows what else is in this soil that may prop up later and hurt their health.  If I had any money I'd move, I'd move out of the fall out zone to place the soil doesn't have heavy metal contamination.  But I'm poor and the poor are not allowed those choices.

Last year people came around and were doing soil test in yards.  They asked if we wanted our soil tested so of course we said yes.  They said if the results came back that the soil was "too" contaminated the smelter would pay to have the soil remediated.  A few months later we got a piece of paper in the mail saying our soil was under the level of needing replacing.  That's good, we thought.

Then this summer the people who live across the street had their soil in their yard replaced.  This means heavy machinery comes in and removes several feet of top soil from your yard.  All your gardens are taken out and sometimes your bushes and trees are too because they don't survive the root disturbance.  It took several weeks and a good week of them digging out the top soil.  I have no idea why it took them so long but I do know that during that time the soil was uncovered, dry and blowing around.  We would go out to our car and there was a fine film of dirt on it.  This is not good.  We are even taught to spray wash our sidewalks with water to get any dirt off.  Dirt is the enemy here.

We kept our windows closed and hoped they would hurry up and get done.  We breathed a sigh of relief when they finally brought in the clean soil and covered it with sod.  I washed the windows, floors and spray washed everything outside.  Life was good without polluted soil everywhere until today.

The next door neighbour who doesn't even live in his house is having his soil replaced!  We noticed the small diggers and dump trucks parked outside their yard the other day but thought maybe he was rebuilding his garage, something his has talked about.  Or maybe he was having an underground spinkler system put in like he's also talked about.  The digging started just before 9am today and I rushed around to shut all the windows tight.  I kept looking outside in the hopes that they would get done quickly.  It was not to be though and they must have left to go do another job because they had stopped work by 1pm.  Lots of soil dug up and still to be removed.

The yard next door is all dug up and there is exposed dirt everywhere.  The grape vine is all wilted because they killed it's roots.  It's sad to see that grape vine die because it's been in the neighbour's yard for years and years even before we moved here.  The husband went outside and sprayed water on the dirt to keep it from blowing around but one would think they would have done that.  If the soil is so contaminated why the heck are the keeping it exposed so long.  They should be able to get that small yard dug up in a day and new soil put back the next day.  Really it's a small yard.  I have pictures.

Okay I had pictures but somehow my phone is messed up and I now have my daughter's iPod stuff on my iPhone and don't know how to restore my iPhone and it's pictures.  iPhone's suck because you have to use ITunes which is the most confusing stupid thing ever.  I will now be spending the rest of my life trying to restore my iPhone.  ARG!  And this is all because I was trying to get the stupid pictures off my phone so I could show a picture of the neighbour's yard all dug up.

See I knew something not great was gonna happen.  I just want my iPhone back to the way it was.  I want it restored with all my apps and pics back.  It's not like I use the dang phone that much.  The husband and I share it and it was one of those free deals if you sign up for 2 years so it didn't cost us anymore than the old worn out phone that wouldn't hold a charge anymore.  My iPhone looks like my daughter's iPod and all my stuff is gone.  The one thing we have that is new and up to date and I've ruined it!!!  Gah!!

So I'll be sitting inside my house tomorrow with all the windows closed trying to keep the dust outside while I curse under my breath at iPhone and iTunes and Apple in general.


Erin said…
That's terrible! Does Canada have an equivalent of an EPA or some other organization you could report this to? In the U.S. by law once they start a job and obtain the permit to do lead or asbestos abatement or the like, they have a deadline and retest to prevent such a problem. This really bothers me, and as a fellow poor person all I can say is "there by the Grace of God go I"! The only thing helping us is that our house was built in 1978, the year AFTER lead was banned in paint and such. I can't even imagine having to find the money to treat such a problem. My brother's little girl tested high for lead and they had to do the lead abatement as well as remove asbestos from their 1920's bungalow a few years back, I think they had to get a second mortgage to do so. Ugh, keep us updated and keep those windows closed.
Sparkless said…
Yes, we have a whole lead task force here that was set up to deal with this stuff. At least I see that they are using the hose out there and wetting the soil down so it doesn't blow around as much. I just wish they would hurry the heck up. They still have the front yard to get done and then boulevard on both sides since it's a corner lot. We are going on the second day and they haven't even finished the back yard.

People don't have to pay to have their soil removed here if it's deemed unsafe. If you have very young kids you can whine lots and have them remove your contaminated soil and put uncontaminated back. But it seems strange that a house only a few feet from ours needs it's soil changed and ours doesn't.
Mama Pea said…
Aw, rats, not good things going on around you. That is downright scary. Hoping things turn around and you don't have to battle more of the same in the future. Hang in there. Sounds as if you're doing everything you can to be as safe as you can. So sorry to hear you're going through this situation. Arrrgh!

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