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Cleanup Efforts Continue Days After Simi Valley Mercury Spill

SIMI VALLEY ( — Days after a mercury spill prompted the evacuation of homes in a Simi Valley neighborhood, cleanup efforts continue and some residents remain displaced.

As CBS2's Amy Johnson reports, frustration has started to set in for some of the residents, who are tired of dealing with the closure of Cochran Street after Monday's spill.

"We're going on four days of this and then the rain is going to hold them up," said Casey Catuna, a resident.

The road has been closed and 16 residents have been evacuated from four homes as crews clean up mercury found in a shared driveway, as well as in the street.

"What we are doing here is a two-phase process. One of actually cleaning the mercury up off the road, as well as sealing the road to prevent anything that may be trapped underneath," said Michelle Rogow of the EPA.

The situation unfolded just before noon Monday when Ventura County firefighters responded to reports of mercury sediment in the driveway after some dogs reportedly got sick.

Investigators say it initially appeared to be 1-3 pounds mercury, but it's still not clear where the mercury came from or how long it had been there.

"I don't have any information about the investigation. My focus on the site is to be responsible for the cleanup," Rogow said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken over the cleanup process, but the rain has delayed its efforts Thursday.

"We have been taking preventative measures to prevent any spreading of any possible contamination," Rogow said.

While some residents declined on-camera interviews, they did express concern over the potential risk from the mercury. Catuna is not.

"I think at this point it's overkill. It's a huge waste of money and resources," he said.

But Simi Valley's Assistant City Manager James Purtee disagrees.

"It looks like a big production, but the mercury can be spread, and so they're making sure that it stays in this isolated area," Purtee said.

The EPA had hoped to have the road open and residents back home by Friday, but due to the rain, that could now take two more days.

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