Riverside County Supervisors approve funds for asbestos testing at Duroville

Testing for lead-based paint will also take place at mobile home park in Thermal

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors Tuesday approved a $130,000  allocation for environmental safety testing of structures at a desert mobile  home park condemned by the federal government.

      Without comment, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to earmark funds  requested by the Economic Development Agency to pay for asbestos and lead-based  paint inspections on 140 travel coaches at the Desert Mobile Home Park --  better known as "Duroville" -- on the Torres-Martinez Cahuilla Indian  Reservation in Thermal.

      The county is in the process of demolishing rotted single- and double- wide trailers at the park. The Department of Environmental Health has been  conducting tests on vacant structures, but additional funds are needed to  complete testing on those lean-tos still occupied, officials said.

      In December, the board approved a $341,000 contract with San Pedro-based  National Demolition Contractors to dispose of all structures at the 40-acre  park, established by Harvey Duro and his family in the late 1990s. It's one of  several non-permitted parks where migrants and their families reside in the  eastern county region.

      According to the county, 41 families have left Duroville in recent  months, relocating with county assistance to the Mountain View Estates, a  sprawling trailer park at Avenue 70 and Harrison Street in Oasis offering  modern conveniences developed with public and private financing.

      There are 181 spaces available at Mountain View. Duroville residents are  being given the option of purchasing new mobile homes at the site via the  county's Mobile Home Tenant Loan Program.

      In 2009, Duroville was declared by a U.S. District Court judge to be a  public health and safety hazard because of its dilapidated condition, including  a faulty electrical system and contaminated drinking water. He placed the  facility in federal receivership, appointed new managers, and barred any new  tenants on the grounds.

     The process of relocating hundreds of existing residents to alternate  living quarters has been under way since that time. According to the county,  the clean-up and containment of lead-based paint and asbestos at Duroville  could cost upwards of $400,000.

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