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Evacuation warning lifted for mobile home parks near Lawson dump site

September 27, 2023

Evacuation warnings for three mobile home parks near the Lawson Dump site in Thermal were lifted today after tests on rainwater samples showed no significant health hazard to residents.

The results of laboratory testing showed only trace amounts of contaminants in samples collected after Sept. 1 floodwaters breeched protective berms and inundated portions of the San Jose, Vargas and Gamez mobile home parks. Riverside County officials issued an evacuation warning Sept. 2.

Another factor in the decision to lift the evacuation warning is that the rainwater within the area has receded.

“The decision to issue the evacuation warning was based on the potential health hazards to the residents of the mobile home parks,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, public health officer for Riverside County. “With more information from test results and the reduction of standing water, it was determined that the evacuation warning could be lifted.”

None of the residents within the evacuation warning area used a shelter that was set up at the Galilee Center in nearby Mecca after the storm.

“Many county departments worked together to respond to this emergency prioritizing the health and safety of our residents affected by the flooded waters in the mobile home parks. A shelter was made available and clean-up efforts were in place to avoid any contact with rainwaters in the area,” said Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “We are pleased to learn the results and more importantly to know our residents were not in danger.”

The analysis of the water samples found trace amounts of toxins, including elevated levels of some metals, but not enough to pose a health hazard, officials said. The testing from a third-party laboratory was analyzed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Riverside County Public Health Department.

The specialized testing was at the direction of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

To see water testing results, click below:

Lawson Environmental Health Report

Lab Results Sept. 8

Lab Results Sept. 22