Environmental Racism in Chester, Pennsylvania

Delco Alliance for Environmental Justice
contact us

Accomplishments of the Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) and the Campus Coalition Concerning Chester (C-4)

Where Chester City is ...
Brief History of Chester
Waste Facilites in Chester
Health Effects and Demographics
"Laid To Waste" Documentary
What is Environmental Racism ???
Toxic Pollution in Delaware County
Articles written about Chester
Chester Photos
The Perpetrators... Russell, Rea & Zappala

NEW: "Laid to Waste" YouTube Video

Presentations & Reports:


Chester / Environmental Racism

Chester, PA, a 65% African-American, low-income community Southwest of Philadelphia is home to four hazardous and municipal waste facilities. The nation's 7th largest trash (and industrial waste) incinerator, the nation's largest medical waste autoclave (closed since 1995), and a sewage treatment plant and sludge incinerator are all cited only yards from the houses of Chester. The EPA has found that blood lead-levels in Chester's children are "unacceptably high," that "air emissions from facilities in and around Chester provide a large component of the cancer and non-cancer risks to the citizens of Chester," and that "both cancer and non-cancer risks, e.g. kidney and liver disease and respiratory problems, from the pollution sources at locations in the city of Chester exceed levels which EPA believes are acceptable."

Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living was a local grassroots community organization that fought for environmental justice in Chester from 1992 through 2001. Their non-violent approach to combating the situation has been met with harassment and intimidation by the people who own and operate the facilities in Chester. Their office has been broken into and vandalized with racist symbols and slogans, their tires have been slashed, peaceful protesters have been run over by garbage trucks, and they have had other residents turn against them.

Despite this intimidation, under Zulene Mayfield's leadership, they stood strong and won many victories. Now, with the new formation of the Delco Alliance for Environmental Justice in 2007, the community is getting reorganized to face the new wave of industrial threats.