The Los Angeles Unified School District wants to build a new state-of-the-art school in northeast LA to help relieve overcrowding at Franklin, Eagle Rock and Marshall high schools.
The school district already has the land all picked out and paid for - 23 acres - and is ready to go.
The problem, however, seems that toxic contaminants from an adjacent property, owned by the City of Los Angles, is seeping into the soil, so now the school district is suing the city in federal court for refusing to clean up and stop contaminating the proposed school grounds.
"The City has wrongfully and unlawfully permitted hazardous substances and other contaminants, including petroleum, to be released onto the contaminated area and into the contaminated area's ground water," states the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court late last week. The school district "has demanded that the City remediate the hazardous substances ... thereon to be released onto the school site ... [but] the City has refused and still refuses to refrain from this conduct."
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According to the lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, the proposed school site sits next to a former plastics manufacturing facility, which the City of Los Angeles now owns and operates.
When the California Department of Toxic Substances Control conducted an environmental examination, investigators determined that soil contaminants substantially exceeded allowable limits, and pinpointed the city's land as the major source.
As such, the school district charges, the City of Los Angeles is responsible for paying for the environmental testing, investigating, ongoing soil monitoring and clean-up - a bill which so far is more than $4 million.
The school district is suing the city not only for the money, but is also seeking an injunction to prevent the city from contaminating the school grounds in the future.