I am writing today to provide an update on the cleanup of toxins left by the former drycleaner at Marinwood Plaza.
After many months of planning and delays, we are now in a period of active cleanup. Plaza owners remain obligated to a deadline of February 1, 2017 set by the San Francisco Bay Regional Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) for successful completion of the excavation of contaminated soil at the property. Clearly this deadline is rapidly approaching, putting successful completion in jeopardy —this has been an unfortunate pattern by the Plaza owners throughout this cleanup process.
Months ago, we were informed that the owners’ plan was to demolish the southern portion of the Plaza —everything south of Marinwood Market —in October, after completion of asbestos abatement, with excavation to follow.
Asbestos abatement did not begin however until January of this year. Today, excavation is in process, but the building has not been demolished. The excavation work is underway with the frame and structure of the building still standing. The Plaza owners decided to take this approach to save costs, and to prevent soil that will be excavated from being soaked with rain water. Plaza owners are obligated to excavate an area of 25 square feet to a minimum depth of 15 feet, at which point testing will determine whether deeper excavation is necessary.
Excavated soil is being stored behind the building, contained by plastic on all sides, within a wooden pen for containment (pictured below).
The project has safety precautions in place, which are described beginning on page 10 of the “Remediation Action Plan Addendum 2.” This document lays out the details of the excavation process, and was approved by the Regional Water Board on September 19, 2016. You can read the relevant portions or review the entire document by clicking here.
Specifically, workers on site are patrolling set areas around the perimeter of the property and using a device called a “photoionization detector” to take readings of soil vapor in the air, with procedures in place, including work stoppage, should levels become elevated. These readings are being completed on an hourly basis while work is active.
On November 23, 2016, I sent a letter to the Regional Water Board expressing my concerns in regard to this deadline being met, and asking that full penalties be enforced if the deadline is missed. You can read that letter by clicking here. This issue has dragged on for much too long, and given the fully sufficient amount of time allowed for preparation, there is no reason that the Plaza owners should not be able to meet this deadline.
It is frustrating that the combined effects of a long-vacant, dilapidated shopping center (save for a stellar market) have combined with intensified parking uses by oversized vehicles along Marinwood Avenue to have a negative effect on community character. We have been at work on solutions for the parking issue, and are currently moving forward with steps to ban overnight parking for all vehicles except cars, motorcycles and pickups.
I will be engaging with Plaza owners and examining all available options of cleaning up the Plaza in the near term. The neighborhood should not have to face unnecessary distress due to the work at hand, nor the extended vacancy.
As this process continues to move forward on a tight timeline, we will keep you informed as best we can.