Kevin McCallum,THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
If Santa Rosa annexes Roseland, a long-planned move it could advance this week, the city will inherit a vibrant neighborhood with a high Latino population, an acute shortage of parkland and a long list of needed infrastructure upgrades.
It also will bring into its borders some seriously contaminated properties.
Roseland has one of the highest concentrations in the city of industrial and commercial properties with soil and groundwater contaminated by toxic substances such as gasoline, diesel and chemical solvents.
Leaking underground gas station tanks, motor oil from salvage yards, and chemicals dumped down the drain by dry cleaning businesses have all made Roseland a hot spot for environmental clean-up efforts over recent decades. In 1982, gasoline fumes seeped into Roseland Elementary School, forcing its closure. A few years later, an underground diesel fuel leak threatened the well water supplies of 2,200 residents.
And in 1992, Sam’s For Play Cafe had to be evacuated because gas fumes backed up through the sewer — the consequence of a rising water table pushing the petroleum products upward. Concentration levels got so high in some places that officials, fearing explosions, declared a state of emergency.
The issue was so serious that the Sebastopol Road and McMinn Avenue area was listed as a Superfund site until 1994.