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PASO ROBLES, Calif. – The San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department is turning to the public for help investigating illegally dumped steel drums off Monterey Road outside Paso Robles.

On Dec. 18 of last year, county road maintenance workers discovered five steel drums at a roadside turnout off Monterey Road state the County of San Luis Obispo.

County Hazardous Materials responded to assess the potential hazards posed by the drums and determined that no liquid waste leakage was detected at the scene detail County of San Luis Obispo.

The barrels were removed from the shoulder and taken to a secure location by a certified waste hauler explain San Luis Obispo County.

According to San Luis Obispo County, testing indicated that four of the drums contained benzene, a toxic and highly flammable substance that is one of the 20 most commonly used chemicals in the United States, largely for industrial manufacturing.

The disposal of benzene is tightly regulated as hazardous waste and as a known carcinogen.

While the discovery of the barrels was on the morning of Dec. 18, 2024, the exact time of the illegal dump remains unknown as is the origin and industrial process the created the waste benzene explain San Luis Obispo County.

According to the County of San Luis Obispo, all identifying information had been removed from the barrels before the illegal disposal.

“If you have information that can assist the County in determining the origin of these materials, we would appreciate a call,” said John Waddell, Deputy Director of Public Works. “We take the safety of the traveling public very seriously, and it is important to hold the generators of this waste accountable. This should not have happened, and we want to prevent it from happening again.”

If you have any information that could help in this investigation, you are asked to contact the County of San Luis Obispo’s Public Works Department at 805-781-5252.

The post SLO County turns to the public for help investigating illegally dumped hazardous waste on Monterey Road near Paso Robles in December appeared first on News Channel 3-12.