Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Residents’ vigilance on Marinwood toxic cleanup pays off

Editorial: Residents’ vigilance on Marinwood toxic cleanup pays off

Marinwood Cleaners dry cleaners stands vacant at Marinwood Plaza in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
Marinwood Cleaners dry cleaners stands vacant at Marinwood Plaza in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) 
Marinwood residents sent a message, loud and clear, to the state board responsible for the cleanup of a toxic spill at a neighborhood shopping center.
The spill is from dry-cleaning solvents used at one of the center’s shops. Today, that shop is one of the many closed stores in the center, as the focus has been on cleaning up the tainted soil and redeveloping the property.
Until recently, the site was seen as a potential location for building affordable housing; but the spill, local opposition and the economy stood in the way of plans. County supervisors, at one time, had agreed to reduce potential housing development on the St. Vincent’s School for Boys and Silveira ranches because of local support for building it on part of the mostly vacant Marinwood Shopping Center property.
Backers of the plan saw the redevelopment as a way to support their local grocery store, and some had visions of expanding some of the community services district’s recreation programs to the site.
But in recent years, after finding the spread of an underground plume of tetrachoroethylene, a compound that had been commonplace in dry cleaning stores, the focus has been on cleaning up the property.
Neighbors focused on the clean-up have found that their definition of clean is different than that of the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, whose staff had recently been prepared to declare the site ready for development.
Some 450 Marinwood residents signed a petition and dozens of emails were sent to the water board urging it not to sign off on the cleanup.
“I asked the board, ‘would you like this your neighborhood?’” said resident Bill Nicholas, who requested that the board do more to address soil vapor found onsite and require additional testing of neighboring Caltrans land.  READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Editor's Note: Many thanks to Supervisor Damon Connolly for providing important leadership as well as Bill McNicholas of the Clean up Marinwood Plaza Now! citizen committee.

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