EL CAJON, Calif. — Several El Cajon residents believe a toxic chemical in the ground is making them sick.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control addressed their concerns at a community meeting held at Magnolia Elementary School Saturday evening.

Representatives with the agency explained Senior Aerospace Ketema (formerly Ametek) had secretly dumped thousands of pounds of a chemical degreaser into a pit, resulting in trichloroethylene — or TCE — exposure. The chemical then got into the ground water and contaminated the soil and indoor air.

The contamination is affecting Magnolia Elementary and three nearby mobile home parks.

During the meeting, agency representatives listed symptoms associated with TCE exposure, which include headache, dizziness, skin irritation, bronchial irritation and blurry vision.

One woman at the meeting said she had been diagnosed with vertigo, another symptom associated with exposure to the toxic chemical.

Officials assured community members they are working on addressing the issue through methods like soil vapor extraction, which vacuums harmful chemicals from affected areas.

Community members said they are working on scheduling another meeting to keep the public informed.