From: "Sherry Padgett" <>
Subject: Dust on cars 1/11/05
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005

See emails attached below.:

It remains incomprehensible that we are still trying to control the dust on one of the most toxic sites in the State of California.

For ten months we have been writing formal comprehensive letters, attending meetings, holding hearings, demonstrating and blocking gates, on the front page of major and local newspapers, on the radio, on television.  We have the attention and focus of the Director of Contra Costa Health and our local California Assemblywoman.  DTSC agrees they should have total oversight. 

The calcium oxide lime is coming from uncovered stockpiles on the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board controlled side of the property  (The SFBRWQCB controls the marsh and upper lagoon.  DTSC controls the upland.)  What is not described in the attached 1/12/05 email from Susan Cronk, part owner of Simeon, is the dust (and gas) coming from the marsh, upper lagoon, and 7 acre open toxic berm-rimmed pit.  The open pit is in the middle of the extremely toxic 8 foot high, 30 acre cap which has not been characterized since it was created in Big Dig 2002.  We now know the first 4,000 cubic yards hauled out of the marsh into the open pit during Big Dig 2004/2005 is indeed Hazardous Waste, confirmed by DTSC's independent tests 11/04 and published 12/04. 

The ineffective air monitoring continues to miss the plumes of dust witnessed and experienced (dust and stink) by all neighborhoods circling the site.  Plumes of dust and steam cross the property line without blowing right over the top of one of the sparsely located air monitors, so no reading is registered.  When one of the plumes happens to hit one of the monitors, it is registered as an off-the-chart type of spike and an explanatory footnote is added to bottom of the spreadsheet suggesting it is weather, calibration, moisture, background, other.  The PID badges and once per hour testing is not taken in the middle of one of these dust plumes.  Explanations for the plumes have been focused on the steam.  What has not been explained is what is in the plumes other than calcium oxide as well as the levels of calcium oxide.  When the front loader drops the marsh mud into the calcium oxide, steam comes up and sometimes calcium oxide dust comes with it.  What else is being carried in the dust cloud?  The Hazardous Waste level of the marsh mud, upper lagoon and 30 acre cap call for the most comprehensive safe plan to be developed before moving another scoop of the material.

The posting of chemical measurements has been limited to one reading per monitor per week which allows as much as ten days between posted readings (Monday one week, Friday the following week).  As of today, 1/13/05, the last chemical readings posted are as pf 12/21/04 – 24 days.  All of the reports the public made regarding stink and dust in December and early January have no posted corresponding chemical tests for comparison.  The PID/handheld test results are summarized at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  As you read them, you will see explained-away spikes and high readings which had little to no effect on site practices.

When I drive west on Seaport between South 50th and South 49th Streets, the hydrogen sulfide, sometimes the calcium oxide stink and possibly other odors I don't know to recognize) is unmistakable as it enters the air system of my car.  It is not consistently a "knock you over" wall of stink, it is sometimes low grade and after a while, the body just accepts it as a background norm.  When I leave the neighborhood and return, the experience is repeated, even though I am not seeking it.

Barbara Cook, DTSC Chief Enforcement Person, requested broadened chemical tests (adding more chemicals to the current list of 22 being monitored) and quicker test turnaround in her 12/23/04 letter to Zeneca and Simeon-Cherokee.  So far there has been no change.  Incredibly, there has been a reduction in the amount of posted test results.  Hydrogen sulfide is no longer tested with daily posted results.  Dust particulates under 10 microns are being tested at only one monitor. 

These are the wettest and least windy days of the year.  Part of our effort and focus during the last month has been to get extensive controls in place anticipating the warmer days of spring starting to dry out the mud, combined with windier days.  We continue to state all operations should cease until a safe plan is developed including complete and total independent characterization of the property.

Last night at 5:45 p.m., three large yellow public school buses and about 40 cars were lined up on South 49th Street, picking up children who continue to attend the Making Waves after school program in the old Zeneca headquarters building, literally 20 feet from the edge of the 30 acre cap and directly downwind of the ongoing Big Dig 2004/2005.

New Richmond City Council Member, Gayle McLaughlin, is considering introducing a letter addressed to Cal EPA to be signed by the City of Richmond requesting entire site jurisdiction (including UC Field Station) be turned over to DTSC.  We are contacting Dr. Wendel Brunner, Director Contra Costa Health, and California Assemblywoman, Loni Hancock to provide support, again.

Sherry Padgett

-----Original Message-----
From: Bourke Harris
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005
To: 'Barbara Cook'

Cc: Sherry Padgett (E-mail)
Subject: FW: Dust on cars

Dear Barbara

Dangerous—causes GI irritation, larger doses could be fatal.

Dangerous - irritation; chemical bronchitis or even death for larger exposures.

Irritation and possible burns.

May cause permanent damage.

This problem is not solved by car wash tickets. We absolutely need the DTSC to take control of matters now. No more "oops!" Take control. Secure the site.

Cronk points the finger at DTSC for having allowed the use of quicklime. I take the Cronk letter as an unequivocal admission of a failed operation. I have observed white clouds of lime float across the property for a couple of hundred yards. This was not steam. I have advised a young mother with infant, on the trail, to beware of the white dust floating across the public path as her infant may be particularly susceptible to harm.

There seems to be no engineering control on the operations.

I demand that DTSC do more to protect us. Please do not do the "out of our jurisdiction" thing.

Bourke Harris
4925 Seaport Ave
Richmond, CA  94804

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan Cronk []
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 5:27 PM
Subject: Dust on cars

Dear Neighbors:

As a result of wind related to the the storm early Tuesday morning, some Quicklime dust fell on a few cars parked in the immediate area. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this may have caused you.

First I want to assure you that the Quicklime dust does not pose any health risks. It is Non-Hazardous according to Cal OSHA and the US EPA. The use of Quicklime was authorized by the DTSC to solidify the wet marsh sediment to assist with its transport offsite. The material is covered and stored on Campus Bay.

If you believe your car has been dusted, please contact Bill Collins at 510.231.1000 ext. 11. Cherokee Simeon will cover the cost of the car wash.

We appreciate your understanding during the marsh remediation. For a daily update of activities, please call the marsh hotline at 510/231-1000 x55 or visit our website ( for contact information for the regulatory agencies and the team.

Susan Cronk

Susan Cronk
SIMEON Commercial Properties
2257K Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939
ph 415-461-3700 x202
fax 415-464-9094