Friday, February 10, 2017

My letter to the RWQCB regarding Marinwood plaza

February 1, 2017

Mr. Bruce Wolfe                                 RE: Prosperity Cleaners (Case #21s0053) waste cleanup
Executive Officer                                            
RWQCB Region 2
1501 Clay Street
Oakland, CA

Dear Mr. Wolff:

As you know the Prosperity Cleaners (Case #21s0053) waste cleanup is finally underway after nearly ten year delay.

The neighbors of the Marinwood Plaza (Prosperity Cleaners) site are very anxious about the continuing delays,  lack of oversight by the RWQCB and misinformation given to the RWQCB and public concerning cleanup.

We respectfully request on sight inspections by the RWQCB to ensure that the RAP is performed in accordance to the agreement and is not modified for convenience and/or cost.

The February 1, 2017 deadline for compliance established by the RAP and Addendum 2 has been missed and should be subject to immediate financial penalties. 

1.) The discharger delayed clean up for months and now has modified the original plan to suit their needs.  The discharger waited until late September to start search for company to do the work , then claimed that they could not find a company for asbestos abatement for months and suddenly at the 11th hour, the discharger unilaterally decided not to demolish the building. Now, they need additional time to shore up the building due to danger of roof collapsing due to the excavation, to resume excavation.   But the building should be demolished to allow the removal of soil at the hotspot underneath the exterior wall.  

Why does the RWQCB allow the discharger to change the terms of the RAP especially when it means that the toxic waste will remain untreated?

2.) The original RAP calls for the removal of a section of soil 25" x 25" x 15' (347 cubic yards of soil).  On the morning of the first day of excavation, the Clean up Marinwood Plaza Now oversight committee learned from field workers/company that the planned excavation was ONLY 8 FEET depth and that all soil removal would stop when reaching water. Days later water  was  detected at 7 FEET.

When Geologica was confronted with the discrepancy with the field orders, they told the committee that there was a "misunderstanding" by the field workers and told us that they would "correct the error".

Later that day, field workers were told not to speak with the public and Geologica erected barriers and posted signs to keep the public away.  I managed to photograph through an open door and shortly thereafter a large barrier was erected to keep me from photographing the interior.

Since the RWQCB manager is not Haz Mat certified, he has not entered the site and is not in a position to certify the quality of the work and the accuracy of the data provided by Geologica.  Likewise, the public has been completely barred from even monitoring it from a sale distance while many workers and delivery people were observed free entry to the site without safety gear or presumably 40 hours of Haz Mat training.

It appears that the discharger is intentionally keeping its cleanup activities hidden while expecting a certification from the RWQCB.

3.) The project property manager Mr. Fitzsimmons seems to be reporting false information to the RWQCB about the work status.  For example on January 31, 2017, Mr Fitzsimmons reported that work to shore up the building had begun and excavation would continue today and be wrapped up in a couple of days.  No such work has been performed.  The excavator and Bobcat were removed on January 31, 2017 by the rental company and the site closed up.  One of the committee members notified your staff of what was happening of which they were unaware.  Your staff contacted Geologica and they advised that the site was shut down due to the contractor personnel attending a training session and the excavator and Bobcat  to return Thursday night with excavation to resume on Friday.  No mention of the shoring up of the roof prior to continuing the work.

4.) The current toxic waste soil in the containment area is far less than 347 cubic meters.  By estimating the volume it appears that it is less than halfway complete. The public seeks FULL remediation as outlined in the RAP.   We ask that the RWQCB fulfill its duty to protect the water and environmental health of our community by requiring

a.) Institute financial penalties for further non compliance and false status reporting
b.) Haz Mat certified staff  to field verify that all terms of the RAP are fulfilled and progress   monitored throughout the remaining remediation .
c.) Immediately determine the need to demolish the building for full clean up and force the discharger to comply with the original RAP.


Stephen Nestel
Marinwood (San Rafael) CA
Member of the Clean Up Marinwood Plaza Now Oversight Committee

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