This is part two of my Kumeyaay Kitchen post. You can read it here.
The kitchen sits above a quiet little creek called Felicita Creek. It is part of our natural watershed creeks, and runs into nearby Lake Hodges.
I remember playing in this creek as a child, now it is unadvisable to touch or even be near this watershed. Things have changed. Notice I did not take the dogs on this hike.
Although there are no signs or warnings, even the air around this creek can make you sick. In fact not many know about this as it is a secret and kept out of the news. I felt fine, but did not stay long and did not touch the water.
The reason it is polluted. Chatham Brothers Barrel Yard that opened in the 1940’s stockpiled industrial wast oil and chlorinated solvents from Southern California businesses. On the five acre site, workers stored leaky barrels and buried them as well as dumping the liquids into ponds. They sprayed motor oil over the site to keep the dust down. Over decades, the toxic waste dribbled into the groundwater.
Though the operation ceased in 1981 the result has been a plume, in this case an underground, water-fueled cloud of toxic vapor and liquid that continues to spread and has now hit Felicita Park and the creek that flows through it.
Fenced in 1984 the yard was designated a State Superfund Site in 1985; by 1990, 208 surface and 10 buried drums as well as 11, 430 tons of soil had been removed. But the efforts were not enough.
Today, the plume is a mile long, up to 1800 feet wide, though it is deeper in spots. It is migrating south, east and west, largely under Felicita Park as well as seeping into the creek.
So sad.. and it’s being kept out of the news, children are still allowed to play in the water.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the creek below. I hope you enjoy them.