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Toxic Dump Sites And Agraquest/Pam Marrone Case May Get Light In Davis, California Hearing
by David Greenwald
Friday Jan 9th, 2009 11:57 AM
A toxic dump site has recently been exposed in Davis, California and a hearing will be held. The issue of the dumping of toxic material at the Pam Marrone owned Agraquest may also come up in this public hearing.

Virtual Vanguard-DJUSD Townhall Meeting

Listen to the audio here

Target TCP Update Agendized for January 16 City-County Two-by-Two
Representatives from the City and the County will meet on January 16, to discuss among other issues, the issue of TCP that was found in test sites around the Target Superfund site. To date, the EPA has dismissed community based calls for further testing before construction begins at their site.

The City-County will have their 2-by-2 meeting on Friday January 16, 2009 at 9 AM in the conference room at the Davis County Office which is located a block from City Hall at 600 A Street. The item on Target and the issue of the TCP has been agendized for discussion. The 2-by-2 consists of two members from the Board of Supervisors and two members from the City Council. That will be the two Davis Supervisors, which means that this will be newly installed Supervisor Jim Provenza's first 2-by-2. Mayor Ruth Asmundson and Councilmember Don Saylor represent the city.

For some reason the agenda for these meetings is not readily available from the city. This is a public meeting and the public under the Brown Act ought to be informed about it. Thus there is no posted information on either the City's webpage or the County's webpage. It would be interesting to see where the meetings are posted and whether the city and county are in compliance with the Brown Act regarding posting and announcing such meetings. Regardless, even if this is within the letter of the law, it certainly seems to break the spirit of the law.

Here's a letter from Congressman Mike Thompson who seems unconcerned about the problem--further illustrating why it was a good thing that he was not selected as Secretary of the Interior.
Thank you for contacting me regarding elevated levels of trichloropropane (TCP) found at the 2nd Street construction site of the Target in Davis. I appreciate you sharing these concerns with me.

Rest assured that I am aware of the discovery of TCP at the construction site and agree that public safety - for residents, construction workers, future employees and shoppers - is of the utmost concern. I have been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the City of Davis about the concerns that have been expressed to me and I will continue to follow the issue. The EPA has explained that no contamination has been found at the building location and that the high concentrations of TCP are at the neighboring disposal basin and should be addressed soon as part of the final cleanup of the Superfund site.

Presently, remediation in the form of gravel/vapor barriers and air sampling is being conducted regardless of construction activity. Additionally, the EPA has an enforceable agreement with Target should more aggressive containment measures prove necessary. A strong EPA agreement with a responsible partner willing to conduct monitoring and remedial action as necessary is crucial to mitigate the risks from contaminants over the long term. For its part, the City of Davis has significant experience in managing matters of soil and groundwater contamination, most notably at the Fifth and G Streets site that now houses the US Department of Agriculture.

Again, thank you for your concern and vigilance on this issue. Please continue to contact me on all issues of importance to you and our district.


Member of Congress
The problem that residents of Davis face at the moment is that the City Council has very limited jurisdiction over such matters. This goes back to the issue of Agraquest and possible health threats the community might face from environmental contamination at their Kennedy Place site. The city has limited ability to act on such things.

The county is far better situated on both issues to deal with it. However, the County Health Department summarily without investigation dismissed concerns about Agraquest, and now it appears they have done little with regards to the potential threat that residents adjacent to the Superfund site may face from exposure to TCP.

On Monday, the Sacramento Bee reported:
"The chemical has previously been found at the neighboring Frontier Fertilizer Superfund site along Second Street, near Interstate 80 and Mace Boulevard.

But nearby residents are now concerned it may be migrating northeast under the Target site, toward their homes."
Bonnie Arthur, the EPA Superfund project manager said the following:
"The chemical is known to cause cancer, she said. But she said it does not threaten the city's drinking water supply, which is drawn from deeper wells. "Nobody's drinking this water," she said."
However, members of the Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Oversight Group are not so sure that it is not a threat to drinking water if it continues to move and begins to leach into wells that lie at a deeper level.

The question is where is the county on all of this? They have a health department and they have the power to investigate these matters independent of the EPA. If this represents an actual health threat, it would seem that the county should step in.

But in both this and the Agraquest issue, the county has been silent.

It remains to be seen if a more aggressive Supervisor like Jim Provenza might be able to change some of this. January 16, 2009 will be a very important meeting on this matter, and residents concerned about this issue should try to attend, even though the meeting is happening during the work day when working people will have difficulty attending.

---David M. Greenwald reporting
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