Public Comment

Oil Spill Shows that U.C. Berkeley's Disaster Plans Are Inadequate

By Linda Franklin
Monday December 12, 2011 - 05:52:00 PM

I am writing with deep concern about the inadequacy of UCB's disaster prep plans as evidenced by their handling of the diesel spill on campus this Saturday night. 

UC didn't get a clean up crew out til daylight, more than 13 hours after the spill occurred. UC didn't put a boom across the creek to prevent the spill from running downstream. EPA later claimed that no fuel reached the bay, but residents saw fuel oil at the mouth of the creek early Sunday morning. This stuff was sticky and clings to the rocks and plant material along the creek... it is still there and will be washing down for weeks. 

I don't this this is an adequate response. What if the fuel had been more flammable? What it if had been a spill of radioactive material (used in biochem studies)? What if it was a really toxic lab chemical? Several other buildings also have diesel fuel tanks of this size...What will be done to keep their sump pumps from pumping toxic materials into our creeks and environment again. How can citizens best respond when they observe a toxic hazard? 

This should be a wakeup call that UC's disaster prep plans need more attention. 

I request that the city council investigate UC's handling of the diesel spill, ask Environmental Health, Public Health and other relevant departments to look into their readiness and hold public hearings on the matter. 

also request that the January 2012 Community Health Commission meeting include a discussion of this issue.