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Town Concerned About Environmental Tests

The digging is impossible to miss in Hooven. And for some residents there, impossible to forget about.

The small town near Cleves is home to a Chevron oil refinery. The plant has been shut down since Chevron bought the company in the '80's, but there's been plenty of activity underground.

A spokesman for the company says years of oil spills and leaks have seeped into the groundwater, and eventually flowed under the town. Chevron says it has been monitoring the flow of contamination since taking over the Hooven plant, and points to a 2004 U.S. Department of Health study that found the plant poses an indeterminate health hazard to residents.

But the study also confirmed there has been contamination in Hooven, and calls for additional testing. That testing is going on right now, and has many residents concerned.

"Because we don't know what this is doing to us and what it has done to us," Alysha Johnson says.

Johnson and others feel like they're lab animals. As workers dig holes all over town to test the groundwater and soil, she feels trapped in a situation that could turn out to be dangerous for her family. The results for the latest tests on the ground and vapors going into Hooven homes are due back later this summer, but for Johnson that's not soon enough.

"I want to know if we're safe," she says. "I want to know if we've been safe. My kids have been playing in the ground, if they've dug into things that could've harmed them [I want to know]"

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