Neighborhood Planned for Toxic Waste Site in Folsom

June 12, 2018

How do you think the Aerojet Area 40 Toxic waste site in Folsom should be cleaned up before it is developed into a park, open space and residential area?

A Public Meeting to Review and Comment on the Remedial Action Plan for the cleanup and development of the Aerojet Area 40 Toxic Waste site, which is South of Highway 50 will be held:

June 20 from 6-8 pm,
Folsom Community Center,
Western Conference Room,
52 Natoma Street, Folsom

South of highway 50 just east of Prairie City Road, lies Aerojet Rocketdyne’s “Area 40”, a hazardous waste site waiting be cleaned up. Folsom and local developers are planning a 48-acre park with housing nearby within the Folsom Planning Area at the location of Area 40. A 26-acre “open space” will be fenced off until extremely high soil vapor levels drop to lower levels.

The Department of Toxics Substances (DTSC) released the proposed cleanup plan in May, and a Public Meeting will be held June 20 in Folsom.

While Aerojet Rocketdyne leased this land their industrial activities included separating solvents from propellant-solvent mixtures and open burning of laboratory wastes, propellants, kerosene fuel, and flammable liquids.

Chemicals identified within Area 40 soils and soil vapor were: dioxins and furans, metals, perchlorate, semi- volatile organic compounds and volatile organic compounds. Chemicals identified in groundwater were perchlorate, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and additional volatile organic compounds.

The proposed cleanup plans are to remove 31,100 tons of contaminated soil from two areas on the site. Note that soil vapors move from the soil into the air. Extremely high levels of volatile organic compounds are in the shallow groundwater. The cleanup plans include measures to require vapor mitigation systems to move chemical vapors from under potential new housing.

How thorough will the cleanup be for the proposed new Community West Park near Prairie City Road? For the open space area north of the park? For the single-family high-density homes just north of the site, and for the commercial and multi-family units to the south?

Levels of contamination: The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for Area 40 says that the site poses unacceptable risk to human and ecological health, which is true. However, the RAP does not mention that the levels of TCE in shallow groundwater, soil gas and even outdoor air are among the highest observed in California. The site has up to 120,000 μg/L TCE in shallow groundwater, which is 24,000 times the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 μg/L TCE. The site has up to 268 million μg/m3 TCE in soil gas, which is 8 million times the EPA default screening level for protecting residents from TCE vapor intrusion into indoor air. The levels of TCE are so high on portions of the site, that levels of TCE in outdoor air 4 foot above the ground pose a risk for fetal heart defects. Levels of TCE are likely to be even higher for infants or small children breathing closer to the ground and individuals laying or picnicking on the ground.

The City of Folsom and the developers are focused on whether the park can go into the proposed area. The risk assessment for human health is based on limited park use.

During the cleanup additional contamination may be found, which could change the scope or nature of the cleanup.

June 20: Learn about this site – make your thoughts known at the meeting scheduled for 6pm at the Folsom Community Center, Western Conference Room, 52 Natoma Street, in Folsom.

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VW’s polluting cars could cause sickness, death. What can California do about that?

By Dale Kasler

May 14, 2018

The Sacramento Bee

Californians spent six years breathing dangerous exhaust fumes from illegal diesel cars produced by Volkswagen. Now the state’s air pollution cops are crafting a remedy for that damage that has been done.

The California Air Resources Board is finalizing a plan to spend $423 million of Volkswagen’s money on financial incentives to persuade trucking companies, mass-transit agencies, tugboat operators and other major polluters to upgrade their fleets and buy greener vehicles.

The goal, officials say, is to boost rail ridership at 23 light-rail stations around the city and give more residents the chance of living a car-free lifestyle by paving the way for higher-density housing, job-rich offices and pedestrian-oriented retail in those areas.

Click here to read the full article.

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Jonathan K. London at ECOS Board Meeting – highlights

Professor Jonathan K. London of the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis spoke to ECOS at our September 18th Board Meeting about their work on Environmental Justice. The Center for Regional Change has grown into a well-known policy-oriented research organization that aims to create linkages between the university and the region of which it is a part.

Professor London presented several tactics for how an organization such as the ECOS coalition can do more to help improve social equity in the Sacramento region. London directed us to get to know the Center for Regional Change’s report called “Capitalizing Environmental Justice in the Sacramento Region.” The report assesses the dire conditions of environmental injustice confronting low-income communities and communities of color in California’s Capital Region. However, local residents and regional leaders have begun to develop a cohesive framework for action to improve conditions in their communities, and to contribute to the region’s burgeoning Environmental Justice movement.

London reminded us of the plethora of information offered by CalEnviroScreen, including some analyses done by the Center for Regional Change on mapping pollution levels and drinking water contamination in the Sacramento region.

London also highlighted a tool called “IVAN” (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods). IVAN is an Environmental Monitoring System that connects the community with real people that can help solve local environmental problems.

The presentation emphasized the importance of environmental injustices to people living in rural areas and engaging them in environmental advocacy work. Connecting with neighborhoods, working to help bolster affordable housing options and joining food justice efforts are all also effective.

ECOS members in attendance were appreciative of the presentation, its cutting-edge research and the new tools for advocacy with which we left. Thank you to Jonathan K. London!

You can suggest future speakers to present to ECOS by emailing our office at office [at] ecosacramento [dot] net.

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