Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marinwood Plaza, Toxic Waste and Cancer

Marinwood Plaza, Toxic Waste and Cancer

Marinwood Plaza at 100 Marinwood Ave, San Rafael, CA  has been the site of a toxic waste hotspot for at least a decade (maybe much further back). It is alleged that it was a dumping spot of PCE from the Prosperity Cleaners.  Instead of promptly ordering a cleanup, authorities allowed the toxic plume to spread. During this time, Marin County Supervisor, Susan Adams with ambitions for US Congress worked furiously to get a housing development on this site.  Several candidates were identified but for various reasons withdrew.  Could it have been because of the toxic waste liability?

The owner of the property let the property fall into disrepair.  Tenants moved away and it attracted vandalism, illegal dumping and graffiti.  Some speculate that during this time additional "bandit" dumping of toxic waste may have occurred.   A cancer "hotspot" emerged at Casa Marinwood, across the street. Part of Casa Marinwood is located down gradient towards Miller Creek watershed as is clear in the first video.   In addition to PCE,  unhealthy amounts of Benzene, a class one carcinogen was found at the Savemore convenience store. 

Despite claims by former Supervisor Susan Adams in her 2013 Marin Voice column that the Toxic Plume had be remediated  ,  the toxic plumb remained in the ground despite modest efforts to show that clean up was occuring.

On February 12, 2014, the RWQCB issued an immediate order for toxic waste cleanup but Marinwood Plaza LLC objected.  Their attorney, reminded the commissioners that "powerful people" were watching, referring to Congressperson Marc Levine and Supervisor Adams who had called regulators on the eve of the hearing.  

The original staff member who presented on February 12, 2014 suddenly was retired after this hearing and a new team was assigned to the case.  It appears that Marinwood Plaza LLC is still delaying the cleanup for financial reasons.  The community and Ms. Silveira, representative of the Silveira dairy ranch are still waiting for an earnest clean up to begin.

Only the experts from the Regional Water Quality Control Board stand between the Cleanup and the Toxic Waste from causing further harm to the community. We pray they do their job well.

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