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  Final Meeting on Accident Prevention Industrial Facilities
July 4, 2004
  Thousands of Richmond residents live within “circles of death” that are described in Risk Management Plans (RMP) prepared by local industries in accordance with state and federal law. Industries prefer to use the euphemism “scenario circles,” which are described by a radius from the potential accident site to an “endpoint,” within which the accident impacts (chemical concentrations, heat, fire or wave from an explosion) are expected to affect the long-term health of the public.

There are two types of scenarios in RMPs, a “worst case scenario (WCS)” and an “alternate release scenario (ARS),” which is considered “more likely to occur than a WCS.” For illustration, the oleum release from General Chemical that resulted in a sulfuric acid cloud in 1993, affected people beyond both the ARS and the WCS.

Several hundred West County residents today live within the ARS endpoint for ammonia from the ChevronTexaco refinery and for oleum from General Chemical. A good example is the residents of Parkway Estates, who are exposed within the ARS for an ammonia accident at Chevron Texaco. The Navy would not allow future residential uses at Point Molate because it lies within the same ARS, even though Point Molate, unlike Parkway Estates, is upwind and on the other side of a 700-foot high ridge. Thousands more live within the WCs endpoints for ammonia, oleum and sulfur trioxide.

It should be the goal of the safety programs of these industries to take whatever measures are necessary to bring at least their ARS endpoints within their own fence lines.

The last of a series of public meetings facilitated by Contra Costa Health Services to receive comments and answer questions from the public on the Preliminary Audit findings for the Safety Programs to prevent accidents at ChevronTexaco and General Chemical will be held July 6. If you live in the western part of Richmond or San Pablo, you should either attend this meeting to testify or file a written demand.

Written comments, postmarked no later than the last day of the comment period (Chevron – July 25, General Chemical, August 6), should be sent via email to ARPTeam@hsd.co.contra-costa.ca.us or the following address:

Contra Costa Health Services
Hazardous Materials Programs
c/o Randy Sawyer
4333 Pacheco Boulevard
Martinez, CA 94553

The Safety Programs are required by the City of Richmond’s Industrial Safety Ordinances. The Preliminary Audit Findings is an assessment by the County on how well the facility has programs in place to prevent accidents and a program to respond to an accident if an accident should occur. The Safety Program includes training of operators, maintenance and operating procedures, contractor safety, and incident investigation, as well as other elements.

The public meeting agenda includes panel discussions to discuss these programs for the following facilities:

ChevronTexaco Richmond Refinery and General Chemical West-Richmond Works

  • Tuesday, July 6, 2004 at 7:00 PM at the Multi-Culture Senior Center, 515 Silver Avenue, North Richmond

All interested parties are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn about, and comment on, the programs developed by these facilities. See also information about the Public Comment Period for these facilities. For questions or to schedule a presentation for your group: Call Bob Katin at 925-755-1150.