WILDOMAR, Calif. (KTLA) — There are exclusive new developments in claims of contamination in a Riverside county neighborhood.
Residents in a Wildomar community believe their homes are making them sick, but now new test results appear to contradict their claims.
South Coast Air Quality Management invited KTLA to its lab, where it analyzed air and soil samples collected from three homes in the Autumnwood development.
“We hope it’s reassuring that what we found is n different than what we would find in any other subdivision in Southern California,” said AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood.
The results may be reassuring for some property owners, but Xonia Villanueva, who abandoned her home on Amaryllis Court for health reasons, says he isn’t buying it.
“I don’t think their testing is adequate,” she told KTLA.
Villanueva is among 60 people in the Wildomar neighborhood who claim chemical vapors from the soil under their homes is making them sick.
“What was done here is grab samples,” she said. “Grab samples are instantaneous samples that are taken for about 20 to 30 seconds of air.”
“That would be like living in your home and only taking a gasp of air. We’re living in our homes 24 hours a day.”
“We did collect samples over a very short period with so-called ‘grab samples,’ but we also went back and collected them over a period of several hours,” Atwood noted.
“In fact, the two results were very, very similar, so this tells us that our methods were sound,” he said.
Still, Villanueva claims that tests done by a law firm representing her and other homeowners prove there is a hazardous mixture of volatile compounds in the soil.
Villanueva says that supports a claim that neighbor Fatima Chicarrelli died from prolonged exposure.
An autopsy reveled elevated levels of barium in Chicarrelli’s body, but where it came from is still a mystery.
The law firm has yet to test to confirm that her exposure came from the soil.
AQMD says the levels just aren’t there.
“We found that barium was well within the typical range you’d see in soils in this part of the country,” Atwood said.
“We can say that the homes that we tested — the three homes — should not have any concerns for the air indoors or outdoors or from the soil in their yards,” he insisted.
“This is not going to quiet us,” Villanueva maintained. “We are not done, by far. There is something there. DTSC needs to step up to the plate. They need to do their job.”