Toxic Sites’ Woes Lead CAG Agenda

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday July 10, 2007

Toxics at two adjoining Richmond waterfront sites will dominate Thursday evening’s discussion of a citizen panel advising the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). 

Members of the Richmond Southeast Shoreline Area Community Advisory Group (CAG) are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Bermuda Room of the Richmond Convention Center, 203 Civic Center Plaza near the corner of Nevin and 25th streets. 

CAG members provide non-binding advice to DTSC officials supervising the cleanup of contaminated sites and is following efforts at Campus Bay and the adjacent UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station. 

Both tracts accumulated heavy loads of hazardous metals and organic toxins during their histories as sites of extensive chemical manufacturing—mercury-containing explosives at the university site and a host of chemicals at Campus Bay, for the century between 1897 and 1997 the location of a complex of chemical plants which produced everything from pesticides to fertilizers and sulfuric acid. 

Campus Bay is where plans for a 1,330-unit housing project were tabled after questions arose about the safety of the site and the nature of a major cleanup that took place between 2002 and 2004 while a similar effort was being conducted next door on the university property. 

On June 29, the DTSC ordered both the university and AstraZeneca, the last chemical manufacturer to own the Campus Bay site, to submit plans for proper handling of more than 3,000 truckloads of contaminated soil hauled from the field station to a massive disposal site at Campus Bay. 

DTSC alleges that not only was the soil improperly disposed of, but at least nine trucking companies lacked valid hazardous permits for at least part of the time they were hauling the earth.