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Toxic pollution has plagued Maryvale's past and threatens the community's future

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Friday, March 11, 2022 - 11:15am
Updated: Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 7:22am

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Welcome to Maryvale village sign
Reyna Preciado/KJZZ
A “Welcome to Maryvale” sign near 35th Avenue and McDowell Road.

The Maryvale neighborhood in west Phoenix is one of the area’s most diverse communities, with the large majority of residents being people of color. It also has a history of toxic pollution, going back as far as the 1980s, when several cases of leukemia in children were discovered.

Fast forward to 2022, and an area from 45th to 57th avenues between Indian School and Camelback has been found to have significant groundwater pollution 200 feet below the surface. Officials say they don’t believe that anyone has been drinking the polluted water.

Katya Schwenk of Phoenix New Times wrote an in-depth piece about the Maryvale pollution. Terry Greene Sterling of Arizona State University's Cronkite School and of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting wrote about previous concerns in the area a couple of decades ago. 

The Show spoke with both of them to learn about the situation in Maryvale.

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