A Toxic Neighbor

  • January 30, 2022
Santa Barbara Beltrán, 72, has spent over 15 years buying bottled water and cooking with potable water.
(Keren Carrión/KERA News)

A Superfund site in Grand Prairie, Texas, has been on the EPA’s national priority list since 2018. It’s located in the predominantly Latino and low-income neighborhood of Burbank Gardens. EPA tests found a highly toxic chemical in the soil at the site, in nearby groundwater and in the air inside some residents’ homes. Now, EPA officials say a plan is in the works to clean up the site. KERA’s Alejandra Martinez reports on the potential health hazards from a toxic chemical found at the site.

A joint project with Report for America.

“Having the support of the Investigative Editing Corps has been invaluable to KERA. Alejandra’s desire to hone her investigative and accountability reporting skills really aligns with our newsroom priorities and having someone like Vernon Loeb available to guide her has been a true gift. Vernon has helped Alejandra shape the focus of her reporting project, advised her on document requests and communications, worked with her on story structure, and edited and fact checked her pieces with all his specialized knowledge standing behind him. It’s been a wonderful experience!”

-Courtney Collins
Senior Editor/Projects, KERA News

Editor: Vernon Loeb

Vernon Loeb is the executive editor of Inside Climate News. He joined ICN from The Atlantic, where he was politics editor, after a newspaper career as a reporter, foreign correspondent and editor. He was California investigations editor at the Los Angeles Times, deputy managing editor for news at The Philadelphia Inquirer, metro editor at The Washington Post, and managing editor at the Houston Chronicle.  He began his reporting career at the Inquirer covering the Delaware legislature and became the newspaper’s Southeast Asia correspondent, which took him to Beijing during the Tiananmen Square uprising. Later, as Pentagon correspondent at the Post, he covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On his watch, the Inquirer was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting, the Times was a finalist in investigative reporting, and the Chronicle won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was twice a finalist for public service and breaking news.