|Ralph Lambert, of the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) answers questions about the clean up.|
The California Regional Waterboard of the San Francisco Bay Area issued a report in 2011 titled, “Dry Cleaner Status Report” profiling the “emerging significant threat of PCE.” Under a section titled, “Emerging Threat to Groundwater and Human Health,” they wrote:
PCE spilled or released by dry cleaners poses a significant threat to groundwater and human health in our region. PCE is a highly toxic chlorinated solvent and is classified as a probable carcinogen. PCE is heavier than water and tends to be highly mobile when it reaches groundwater.
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - On Wednesday, February 8th, The Cleanup Marinwood Plaza Now Oversight Committee will appear before the very same Waterboard to ask that the state enforce an order, which required the Marinwood Plaza owners to clean up the source of a PCE plume on the property by February 1st. California Water Code Section 13350 allows the Regional Water Board to impose fines of up to $5,000 per violation day. Oversight committee members say they will be demanding the maximum fine allowed.
In a letter dated April 19th, 2016, the property owner, Marinwood Plaza LLC’s president, Lee Hoytt, and their real estate manager, Tom Fitzsimmons of Wells Fargo, were instructed to complete excavation, testing, and submit a report by the February deadline. It’s still unclear at this point when the excavation will be finished. Named as “Prosperity Cleaners, Marinwood Plaza,” the Waterboard’s Wednesday meeting agenda calls for a status update on the situation.
In a public letter to the Regional Water Board sent on Friday, Feb. 3, Supervisor Damon Connolly, expressed frustration with the missed deadline, writing: “I have stated consistently over the course of the last two years that this process has dragged on for too long.”
He goes on to request application of “Administrative Civil Liability” as set forth in California Water Code Section 13327. Supervisor Connolly also points out in his letter, “Plaza owners were given generous, ample time to execute this cleanup. While the timeline for on-site excavation was finalized in April of 2016, work did not begin until January of 2017…”. According to his office, Supervisor Connolly is planning to attend the meeting on Wednesday personally.
“We’ve been in frequent contact with the Waterboard staff over the past couple of weeks voicing our many concerns. When we asked why the building wasn’t demolished, Waterboard staffers didn’t have a lot to say. We also don’t understand why the Waterboard doesn’t have a hazmat certified staff member, because the site was never inspected. They weren’t even going to measure the excavation depth until we requested it.” observed Clean Up Marinwood Plaza Now Oversight Committee Chair, Bill McNicholas.
According to EPA information from 2012, more than 90 percent of rivers and streams assessed by the state are too polluted for drinking, fishing or swimming. The source of the Marinwood plume is only about 700 ft from Miller Creek and has already been found to have contaminated soil on the opposite side of the 101 freeway ¾ of a mile away.
Fellow Clean Up Marinwood Plaza Now Oversight Committee member, Stephen Nestel, voiced his concern about the pollution stating, “I don’t want to penalize the Hoytts. I’m satisfied with a full clean up. But, as far as we know, they didn’t actually dig deep enough, and that violates the state’s order.”
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