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EPA finds toxic vapors in Evandale homes

Original post made on Feb 15, 2013

Above a much-studied toxic groundwater plume, the Environmental Protection Agency has found something of a surprise: toxic vapors creeping into homes on Evandale Avenue near Highway 101 and Whisman Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 15, 2013, 9:25 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by superfund
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

The city has known about toxic waste problems in this area for decades. How many generations of kids have grown up with these toxic vapors in their bedrooms? How many will now die prematurely? Why doesn't the city just condemn the whole area and make the polluters pay to clean it up once and for all? Most of the polluters are still in business and have confessed to their liability, right?

Posted by AJ
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:48 am

@superfund: Condemning it and making polluters pay would be a federal thing, not a city thing.

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

Good idea, superfund, but it will never happen. Mountain View is OWNED, lock, stock, and barrel, by real estate developers. The City of Mountain View is not concerned with any carcinogens except cigarette smoke.

Posted by Christine
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

This is less than a block from me. Can't afford to move, but it would have been nice to know this earlier for some prevention. i.e. no planting a garden! I have vapor barriers under all my flooring, and I'm so glad I put them in! It should be standard. EPA should give solid suggestions to minimize contact.

Posted by vkmo
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Besides Evandale Ave, we have another problem. Castro is the name of a communist dictator, a bad guy. We should hence change the name of Castro Street. My suggestion is to name it Obama Street.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

A pause for a few facts: the MEW is already a Superfund site (dating from the mid-1980s). The polluters have spent and still spend the required $. This newly found problem will be covered if traceable to the previous area. It is very difficult to clean up due to the jumbled hydrogeological circumstances, hence ongoing vapor removal in buildings.

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

In some ways, EPA's response to community concerns about TCE contamination in Mountain View is a national model, but more homes need to be sampled. For background, see
Web Link and Web Link

Posted by Kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Castro St named after Fidel? Hopefully that is a joke.... but just in case... "Mountain View’s modern history begins with Mariano Castro, who was born in San Francisco. Castro received title to mission land that included both Mountain View and Sunnyvale. He quickly took up
residence and established himself as both a cattle rancher and a
local activist. He called his land Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas.
This land grant would become the setting for a new town, and the
Castro family would play an important role in its development."

Posted by nicole
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm

nicole is a registered user.

While I think Obama would go down well, given the comments I've seen here (now that is a joke), I too hope that was a joke. Although I did hear a funny story about a mom who's kids were chatting with some kids in Florida, impressing them with their Spanish, until she revealed they learned it at a wonderful school called "Castro Elementary"

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Everybody should be aware that the " Rust Bucket " Fairchild Wafer Fab plant was part of the area. My brother worked there. It was much like the AMD Wafer Fab plant on the Sunnyvale / Santa Clara City limits where I worked.

Posted by Jim Enloe
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

We live about 1.5 miles from MEW in Sunnyvale and as part of our home purchase the super fund sites were clearly identified in the disclosures when we bought our home 14 years ago.

So the government did their job, and individuals need to do there's by being observant and taking proper precautions.

Posted by Old News
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

This is old news. Buyer beware. Caveat emptor. You gets what you pay for.

Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

Everyone who purchases property in this area are given a mountain of disclosures to sign about this very issue before they buy. People who rent these properties should also receive disclosures about the hazards. Further, this issue is in the paper at least once a year. I have known about the issues in this area for 15 years. I don't know how people can plead ignorance. A lot of people I talk to that live in that area have said that they don't believe there is a real danger to their health.

Posted by Alana
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm

It's great that the people buying property in the area are fully informed--but as a brand new renter I can tell you the same cannot be said for renters. I just moved here from WA and have been here less than a month and would not have thought to search for information about toxic waste sites when looking for an apartment. Would you? Now, I probably will. And by now, I mean--right now, because I will need to move again. I am very likely to die from cancer someday (aren't we all?), but I don't really need to UP my chances of it happening by living on top of soil filled with a known carcinogen. Cripes.

Posted by Oscar
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 24, 2013 at 8:58 am

When I bought my place almost a decade ago, I was told by my realtor that these superfund sites are all over the place. In fact, Mountain View has lots of places that probably need to be tested. Really, there seems to be a lot of panic and inciting of worry over if you are planning on looking for another place to rent over this, renter..make sure your new home isn't over a gas main, the drinking water is tested, the soil is tested, no lead based paint, no fire retardant in your home, you probably want to look at the sex offender database to ensure you're not loving in a crime ridden area or near any offenders, check for asbestos in the ceiling, see if there are any leaf blowers being used regularly to contaminate your air quality, etc., should get the idea...

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Mountain View has no standards whatsoever when it comes to rental properties. The city has no interest in whether or not a rental property meets the basic habitability standards set by the state. When you rent an apartment in Mountain View, you are on your own.

Posted by Laura
a resident of Slater
on Feb 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Just lovely. I had breast cancer last year and as a result a masectomy. No breast cancer in my family before this. I live off of Gladys and Ada next to middle field and Whisman with my two kids the past five years. Bad enough my landlord doesn't make needed repairs but for him to not disclose this is morally wrong. And he raises the rent each year. Funny mortgages don't go up but he says he needs to increase it as rents are rising again. I do hope they do clean up the area. And start being truthful about this area. Parents want protect their families not subject them to toxic fumes

Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 26, 2013 at 5:36 am

Mountain View lets landlords do (or FAIL to do) anything they want. As far as rental properties go, it's the Wild West. This city won't even test the water coming out of your tap, if you are a renter. It's absurd.

Unless you're the Hacker Dojo. Then, all of a sudden, the city has STANDARDS. Funny how that works.

Posted by My2cents
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 26, 2013 at 7:23 am

The plume previously identified in this area was said not to extend past Whisman. The recent discovery is of concern because the EPA said it was contained. Either it is not contained, and spreading or else it is a newly discovered plume. It is true there is TCE in a lot of is near Cuesta Park, as I understand it... But this one seems big and possibly spreading. A big concern is that the owner of the condos on Whisman andEvandale apparently did not allow testing. So those residents may not know about this.

Posted by Checker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

" is near Cuesta Park, as I understand it... "
Hmm. Never heard that one. Its not on any maps of affected areas so doubtful that's true.

Posted by jravanell
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

we lived at 107 evandale for 10 years in the 80's. we used to ride our bikes up whisman. i remember the liquid air corporation, a chemical company (i dont recall the name) and FMC and Honeywell where whisman station now stands.iam not was a time when we didnt put much thought as to what was being dumped. ironically my mom died of cancer of the limbic system in 1998.

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