Test results are finally in on the quality of air in Davenport, just north of Santa Cruz. Summer tests revealed unsafe levels of a toxic chemical coming from a cement making plant called Cemex. But new tests show that levels are down but air quality tests will continue as long as the Cemex plant operates.
Its been a stressful few months in Davenport. "Everyone was hoping for a conclusion to this long drawn out process," said Noel Bock, Chair of the Davenport North Coast Association. Residents were hoping to find levels of toxic chromium six in their air were safe to breathe. "I think everybody was optimistic, hopefully I should say," said Bock.
At a town hall meeting Wednesday, Santa Cruz County health officials told residents that test results show a 95 percent drop in chromium 6. In the summer the risk level for the cancer causing chemical was 77 per million. That number has dropped to 3 per million. State scientists say that complies with healthy standards.
"I’ve heard from my many people that they feel better that they’ve seen this data come back," said Sharon Smith, Principle of Pacific Elementary School in Davenport. Many people say the air is different since the Cemex plant made changes in how it operates. "I have not smelled the carbon sulfate that we smelled in the past and I have not seen as much dust," said Bock. Positive changes in Davenport, that residents hope will continue.
The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District and county health officials are awaiting results from a final batch of samples. Once those arrive, they will set new standards and regulations for Cemex.