The County Fire Department has hired two additional hazardous materials specialists to help deal with oil cleanup at some 400 sites in and near Santa Maria. Particularly hard hit are residents of the Parksville and Sunrise Hills housing developments, built on land contaminated by leaking oil wells. The three specialists already working on the cleanup are so overwhelmed that they are months behind schedule in issuing closure letters certifying decontamination, without which residents cannot sell their land and landowners cannot build on it. The cost of the additional employees will be charged to the oil companies, who have assumed responsibility for the leaks.

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