Residents claim recycling facility sends shrapnel into Watts school

Neighbors, parents and Watts students gathered Tuesday night to demand the closure or at least the relocation of a recycling facility accused of sending shrapnel into a nearby school.

“It’s time for them to get the hell out of Watts,” one resident said.

The company that angers many residents is S&W Atlas Iron and Metal Company, also known as Atlas Metals. The scrap metal recycling facility is adjacent to Jordan High School, home to 1,000 Watts students. Community members say the facility sent shrapnel into the school campus and exposed students to toxic chemicals.

According to the Los Angeles Unified School District, there are hazardous levels of lead and other metals on campus that are 75 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency defines as hazardous.

“Regularly emits toxic fumes. Ejects shrapnel at nearby campus, Jordan High School – sometimes live ammunition – all of which pose a serious risk to children trying to get a decent education,” the same said. resident.

Genesis, a senior at Jordan High School, said many students thought it was okay to have a recycling plant next door. She thought it was normal to find shrapnel on campus.

“I was always seeing Atlas and they were always moving stuff around,” she said. “I never really thought about thinking ‘What’s this doing here?'”

With that thought in mind, Genesis began thinking about how just going to high school would impact his health later in life.

“I was there the whole time, drinking from the water cooler like any other kid, especially after PE when they had us racing on the track,” she said. “We can’t keep letting these companies or industry organizations put us down just because we’re from Watts.”

Navaline Smith talked about her experiences living in Ujima Village which was built on an abandoned oil storage yard. The village of Ujima was a closed housing complex after Los Angeles County officials discovered it was contaminated with hazardous materials.

“My daughter, she has tumors in her throat,” she said. “She underwent three operations.

Scientists are currently studying the impact Atlas Metals might have on the residents, as they don’t want what happened in Ujima Village to happen to the students of Jordan High School.

“There is no reason why a metal recycling plant that has already been cited for violating the submission of hazardous waste to a community should continue to exist next door,” one commenter said.

LAUSD has filed a lawsuit against Atlas Metals. The recycling facility did not respond to requests for comment.