PUBLIC NOTICE Hexavalent Chromium Pollution - Northwest Berkeley


PUBLIC NOTICE Hexavalent Chromium Pollution - Northwest Berkeley
January 30, 2001

To residents, business owners, and property owners of the West Berkeley area bordered by the Interstate Highway 80, Gilman Street, Seventh Street, and the northern Berkeley boundary at Codornices Creek.

• Hexavalent chromium is present in the groundwater within this area of West Berkeley as a result of historical industrial activities.

• If you are in the referenced area (see attached map), you may have hexavalent chromium in soil or groundwater below your property, beginning at a depth of approximately three to five feet below the ground surface.

• WARNING: The State of California has determined that hexavalent chromium can cause cancer and can impact your health either through ingestion (eating, drinking, or inhalation of vapor) or prolonged physical contact with the groundwater. If you have not ingested or contacted groundwater, you do not have an exposure problem.

• If you are in the referenced area, avoid contact with the groundwater and soil at a depth of approximately three to five feet below the ground surface.

• Your municipal drinking water supply has not been affected and is safe.

• The contamination does not present a health risk for children or other users of the playing fields.

• If you are or have been in contact with the groundwater, or otherwise believe you have been exposed to this source of hexavalent chromium for any reason, please contact the Toxics Management Division at 705-8150.

The City of Berkeley is coordinating an effort with State agencies to develop an appropriate course of action to remove the contamination in the groundwater and to eliminate potential health risk. A report of the toxicity of hexavalent chromium and the evaluation of public health risk are available for review at the Toxics Management Division at 2118 Milvia Street or the West and Central Berkeley Libraries. The report referenced at the libraries as "The SOMA Report" dated December 8, 2000.

City of Berkeley Skateboard Park  SOMA 00-2268
Project Evaluation Report December 8, 2000

The results of the screening-level evaluation indicate that estimates of risk for the: I) construction workers, 2) recreational users of the adjacent soccer/baseball field, 3) workers and residents of the social services shelter, and 4) people passing by the Site are not significant.

Quantitatively, the excess carcinogenic risk due to TCE for the construction worker due to inhalation exposures is a risk of 5 in 100,000,000 or five in one hundred million. Although the issue of acceptability risk is a regulatory matter, a risk of one in one million is typically used a point of departure, that is a reference point. An evaluation of occupational exposures based on methods used by Cal OSHA support the conclusion that potential occupational exposures to TCE are in compliance with Cal OSHA.

Similarly, noncarcinogenic adverse health effects would not be expected. Time constraints have limited SOMA's evaluation to potential inhalation exposures to TCE. Hexavalent chromium does not represent a source of potential adverse health effects to construction workers based on a combination of relatively low concentrations in groundwater and the absence of significant exposure pathways.

The excess carcinogenic risk due to potential inhalation of TCE to residents of the shelter was calculated to be 2 in 1,000,000 or two in one million. The exposure assumptions for this receptor are overly conservative and this estimate of risk significantly overestimates actual risks. For example, it is assumed that a resident of the shelter resides at the shelter 24-hours a day, 350 days per year for a period of 30 years. It assumes that the resident was born and raised at the shelter and never leaves the shelter. These assumptions greatly overestimate the actual use patterns of typical residents of the shelter. Although an excess risk of cancer of two in one million is greater than the commonly used point of departure of one in one million, the conservative nature of the calculations indicates that an estimate of two in one million is not significant.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Attn: Peter Hess 939 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94109
March 26, 2001

Re: Chromium in Air at Fourth & Harrison Street

Dear Mr. Hess:

In 1997 the city contracted Accurex Environmental conducted a two day ambient air study at the Fourth & Harrison Street park site. The Accurex study found some undifferentiated chromium in one of the two days of air sampling. The consultant believed the most likely source was either mineral chromium kicked up from the soil or airborne chromium from industry to the west.

In the interim period, the city of Berkeley has found that the groundwater Cr6 plume from WRE ColorTech at 1225 Sixth Street has reached west beyond the park. This has raised a new concern by a member of the public who believes that the chromium may be Cr6 and it may be coming from WRE ColorTech. Staff reviewed the Acurex document and on both days of testing, the air was "normal" or from the west, while the facility in question was east of the park.

At this point, we want to take extra steps to make sure if WRE CotorTech has produced airborne Cr6 over the past few years. Does the BAAQMD have analyses for the airborne emissions? If not, can you obtain such data from the facility?

Nabil Al-Hadithy Supervisor, Toxics Management Division

Attachment: Pages from 1997 Accurex Report

Cc Lisa Caronna, Director of Parks and Waterfront
Wendy Cosin, Acting Director Planning Department  (w/o attachments)
L A Wood, Berkeley


To: Community Environmental Advisory Commission

As requested by Commissioner Wood, we recently contacted BAAQMD on airborne Cr6 from WREColorTech and possible impacts at Harrison Street. Their response shows unlikely impacts to the fields.

Please note that the last BAAQMD tests were from May 1993 when the facility was much busier than at present. The facility has since lost the California Lotto contract and there are concerns that it will file for bankruptcy soon. Please also note that the air monitoring data taken was on the facility itself and Harrison St fields is mostly upwind by about 300 feet or more so dilution will take place. Having said all this, and having again shown the lack of evidence for any Cr6 impacts to the fields, staff is prepared to take additional ambient air Cr6 sampling and use very low detection levels to categorically evaluate this concern.

From: Ken Kunaniec Engineering Manager, BAAQMD
To: Nabil Al-Hadithy Supervisor, Toxics Management Division

Per our phone conversation of4/4/01, the following information is provided.

The most recent source test data from Western Roto Engravers (WRE ColorTech) is from May, 1993. The test demonstrated emissions less than even the current standard of 0.005 mg/amp-hr. The Permit condition (ID # 16358) required tests every 2 years, until two consecutive tests demonstrate compliance with our Rule (at the time, the standard was 0.03 mg/amp-hr). The May, 1993 test was the second such demonstration. The test results showed 0.003 mg/amp-hr.

Data Bank shows one Violation Notice issued to this facility since January 1, 1998. It was a recordkeeping issue, not an emission-related violation. I researched the Pacific Steel Casting and Berkeley Forge & Tool tests our Agency have conducted since 1982 and none of the results indicate any chrome emissions. We have measured some manganese (2,000 ppm) and zinc (3,670 ppm) coming from the Electric Arc Furnace at Pacific steel casting. This source is, however, controlled by a baghouse.

Ken Kunaniec Engineering Manager, BAAQMD

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