Could toxic waste be affecting your health?

Acme Land fill2Acme Fill Corporation wants a permit to continue operating their Martinez hazardous waste dump


California Department of Toxic Substances Control Public Meeting & Hearing

November 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Las Juntas Elementary School –  Multipurpose Room

4105 Pacheco Blvd in Martinez

The Acme Fill Hazardous Waste dump is located at 950 Waterbird Way, 1/3 of a mile from the neighborhood bordered by Arthur, Central and Irene Streets off Pacheco Boulevard.  The dump is between the Shell & Tesoro refineries, and adjacent to protected wetlands & creeks. 

Community Notice [English, PDF]
Public Notice [English, PDF]
Public Notice [Spanish, PDF]

Martinez residents have the right to know whether this toxic site is operating safely enough to receive a renewed permit.

The dump contains a number of very dangerous chemicals, some of which are byproducts of oil refining:

  • Methylene chloride –  used as a solvent and a “probable human carcinogen” according to US EPA.
  • Trichloroethane (methyl chloroform) – long-term inhalation exposure has caused heart problems.
  • Tetrahydrofuran – highly flammable; prolonged exposure may cause liver damage.
  • Acetone –tends to leach into groundwater; long-term exposure can lead to kidney, liver, & nerve damage, as well as birth defects.
  • Alkaline sludge – possible petroleum refinery byproduct with variable composition.
  • Sand blast waste – produced by removing rust or paint (could include lead paint).
  • Catalyst fines – byproduct of oil refining, specifically the catalytic cracker.

Here are some questions we think need to be adequately answered for the community:

  • What safeguards are in place to ensure that nearby waterways are not contaminated by handling and transport of the facility’s toxic byproducts?   Does the facility do any soil or water testing outside the boundaries of the site (e.g.,  in Waterbird Regional Preserve, Pacheco Creek or Point Edith)?
  • The official fact sheet for this project states that “…contaminant concentrations are increasing in [well] PC-1B. Therefore, PC-1B may be an indicator of contaminant migration into deeper lithologic units [rock formations].”  This means that contamination from the dump is spreading, possibly into groundwater.  What is being done to stop the leakage of this dump into our water?
  • The draft permit states that the site is three miles from Martinez; this may be technically true, but it leads the reader to believe this hazardous waste site is safely far away from people’s homes.  The site is actually less than a quarter mile from a densely populated neighborhood – how do you explain this discrepancy?
  • How often is the leached water runoff tested?  What toxic substances are in the leached water runoff and how are they disposed of?
  • What gases are released from the landfill and how are they analyzed and contained?  What toxics have been found in the gasses coming off the facility?
  • Has a full study been done on air quality of the surrounding area?  Is there an air monitor in the facility as well as in the nearby residential neighborhood?
  • Instead of the current post-closure activities, what research has been done to find out if are there other more effective means of mitigating, containing or cleaning up the toxic substances in the landfill?
  • Have any Acme Fill employees reported health problems related to exposure to toxic substances?
  • Will dumping still be allowed within the interior of this site as it is now, or will the transfer station be the only active facility?
  • What measures are in place to address a wind-driven methane fire, should one occur?
  • How many residents of the surrounding neighborhood were notified about this comment and hearing process?  How was the notice delivered and was that notice made in any language other than English?
  • The permit includes special provisions because Acme Fill Corporation has had difficulty in the past paying for the maintenance of this site.  How will we know if it is being maintained?
  • What does it mean for the permit to change from Interim Status to Post-Closure Status?
  • Will this land ever be cleaned up?
  • What can we do to prevent more hazardous waste sites in our community?

Sources: California Dept. Of Toxic Substances Control documents — Draft Hazardous Waste Post Closure Facility Permit; Public Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period; memo to Office of Planning & Research re Notice of Exemption;  Fact Sheet.  Other sources:  EPA Hazard Summaries on methylene chloride & methyl chloroform (January 2000); tetrahydrofuran Material Safety Data Sheet; U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ToxFAQs for acetone.

About Martinez Environmental Group

We are a community health and environmental group located in Martinez, CA.
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