Zoning Adjustments Meeting May 11,
QUESTION AND MOTION TO HOLD OVER PSC
C. Tiedemann: Debbie gave me a note about taking a five-minute
break to poll the board on a possible special meeting on Pacific steel.
Because their they are waiting to hear and their item isn't going
to be called probably until 1:00 a.m. So I move to extend the meeting
till we can finish this matter and also Pacific Steel. Is that what
you are talking about?
D. Sanderson: No. I am asking a different
D. Sanderson: Whether or not -- we have
been in communication with them. They originally were saying that
they would stay and just wait it out however long it took. It seemed
to take longer than they thought, and we thought.So the question is
whether it would be better for them to come back for a special meeting
to handle that item. It is a critically important issue for this community.
And so I told them that I would poll the board, see if we could take
a few minute's break and talk about whether you want to set a special
meeting just for that item, possibly on the 18th. Could we just hear
it now? If we are going to stay here until God knows what hour in
the night, which I'm not sure we are going to do, I think it's probably
more important to me to get that decided, which I think we can do,
than it is to beat this horse further. I agree. Let's do it. Let's
break this meeting to do that and get that done.
C. Tiedemann: Okay. I have a very serious
problem. Tomorrow I have to drive up to the feather river canyon to
Quincy -- Quincy, and as Dave pointed out it would be better for me
to be alive than dead. I can't stay here until 2:00 a.m. I can't.
Chris, I don't see what the problem is
in having a special meeting. We could do it next Thursday. That happens
to be a design review night, but we could schedule design review at
6:00 if necessary and hold this at the regular time as a special meeting.
Could I ask, if you mind, how many speakers there are here for PSC?
D. Sanderson: The representative from
the air district came.
: It's traditional when we do these things to ask the people who wanted
to speak if they can come.
D. Sanderson: I have been polling them,
and I talked with them first and said I would --
C. Tiedemann: I don't have to be here,
but someone else has to take over the meeting
D. Sanderson: I'm sorry?
C. Tiedemann: I don't have to be here
until the end of this meeting, but Dave will have to take over. Just
really, it's like safety. I could kill someone else. I have to go
to work tomorrow, too, so I would like to make a motion that we call
a special meeting next Thursday at 7:30 for the Pacific Steel --
D. Sanderson: We have had several community
members who have waited for a very long time, and I think when I talked
with them in the hall, I talked with them as well as to the company,
everyone understands there is a settlement agreement that the company
is under that we are trying very hard to keep this issue moving.
C. Tiedemann: Is there a second to Bob's
C. Tiedemann: Let's take a roll call
vote on it.
D. Sanderson: This is a vote
to hold a special meeting on the 18th for Pacific Steel Casting, starting
the meeting at 7:30. Is that correct?
: 7:30? Are you expecting -- wait a minute. That's the
exact same time as DRC.
: We could schedule design review an hour earlier. It's
one item on the agenda.
: Why don't we have our regular meeting at 7:00. I don't
understand what the half hour is about. I am opposed to it but I don't
understand why you are adding a half hour. Where did 7:30 come from?
: Because I wanted time to hold design review.
: You expect design review, without anybody coming here,
to agree to meet an hour early. That's not going to happen.
: Let's do it at 7:00 first.
D. Sanderson: The motion is for 7:30.
Board member Allen.
D. Sanderson: Anthony.
D. Sanderson: Judd.
:Katz.: Yes, but I will check on that.
: He Metzger.
: Check on what?
D. Sanderson: On the 18th? Oh. Well,
what's your vote? Abstain?
[ Laughter ]
: Sigh of relief, I think.
D. Sanderson: Shumer.
D. Sanderson: Wilson.
: No, because I can't be here.
C. Tiedemann: Yes.
D. Sanderson: So we have two members
who can't be here and one no.
C. Tiedemann: well, the motion carried.
D. Sanderson: So to summarize for the
community, the meeting would be at 7:30 here on the 18th.
Are we going to have any opportunity for people who are here who can't
come back next Thursday to talk? Or are we just going to let it go?
>>>: We're going to move on.
>>>: Let it go.
ZAB REOPENS PSC
We are going to move on to Pacific steel but first I need a motion
from the board to re-open the question on the previous motion about
the Pacific Steel Casting so we can have this meeting. We never
had the formal motion. You can act on this tonight and if we finish
you can cancel the special meeting. You don't need to cancel the
What's the motion?
The motion is to continue -- to overrule any motions previously
that canceled the meeting for tonight so we can have the meeting
D. Sanderson: Staff will take the blame
for this. There was confusion on my part with the folks about what
I told the board.
Do you think we need a motion?
D. Sanderson: Yes, you had a motion
and it's been pointed to me --
: Make the motion.
C. Tiedemann: Is there a second to
re-open the Pacific Steel?
All those in favor say aye.
Without objection, we will continue this meeting until this
matter is finished.
Can we have a presentation from the applicant.
D. Sanderson: I just wanted to explain
we have the applicant to make a presentation. We also have people
from the air district. We have Susan Adams who
is the assistant counsel, Kelly Wee who is director
And you suggest --
D. Sanderson: I suggest they are here
to answer questions that the board has. The chair,
Christina Tiedemann asked they be present. They
were asked to come. That's why they are here. We also have Nabil
Al-Hadthy who is our toxics person.
So these are all available after the public hearing.
D. Sanderson: After or during, they
are here to answer your questions.
Thank you and introduce yourselves again.
I am Tom Mitchell. I am the project engineer consultant
for Pacific Steel Castings on the proposed carbon adsorption project.
Just a little background. I'm not sure this is really legible. This
is the community that Pacific Steel is actually in. Gilman street
is here. And Pacific Steel has been in Berkeley since the mid '30s,1930s.
They actually have three steel plants functionally on second Street
here. They have plant one, which is right here. Plant two, and then
What page? I can't quite see it.
I believe page is right here. And again, this would be plant two.
This is plant three.
Other -- in between is Berkeley forge. Up here is the recycling
What we're proposing to do, simply, is at the current time in plant
three we have a collection system in the plant to collect smoke
and fumes that come off the pouring line. That comes through an
existing bag house system which is essentially a large particulate
filter.Our proposal is to put in this carbon adsorption unit which
is intended to take the odorous fumes that pass through the bag
house out of the air stream, and then pass it out of the vertical
Is it the stack that's 44 feet? Is that the high point or is
that something else?
The discharge of the stack will be 53 feet. That's a condition that
the air district has imposed. It's actually the height of the existing
exhaust stack off the bag house now. So we are maintaining the same
height with that.
This carbon adsorption unit that we are proposing is actually going
to be the third carbon adsorption system for Pacific Steel. They
put in one at plant two in the 1980s, which is shown in these drawings
Plant one was put in in '91, I believe. And this is the carbon adsorption
system that's at plant one. It's actually at the corner of Gilman
and the frontage road. The new one that we're proposing will look
very similar to this. It will be the carbon adsorption system mounted
on a structural platform.
This slide is actually an air district slide.
This is odor complaints versus the year across the bottom. And the
significance of this slide is that you can see an increase in complaints,
and then upon installation of the carbon adsorption system, the
first one being plant two's carbon adsorption system, the odor complaints
dropped virtually to zero.The same thing happened at a later date
for plant one. You can see a large increase in complaints, and in
response to that we put a carbon system in there.The last peak here
is what we're experiencing the last couple of years with an increase
in odor complaints.
And you know they are from plant three. You can trace it.
S. Shumer: I'm not clear. Why was
plant three not a problem before? The odors that came up in the
previous complaints, my understanding -- I probably shouldn't speak
to this, but my understanding is that those complaints were identified
as odors coming from the other plants. The air district had identified
the source of that.
Plant three was never really a source of complaints until recently.
And you can see the trend with that.This is a picture of the carbon
that we're talking about. It's actually a loose granular carbon.
It's shipped to the site in these sacks which are called super sacks.
Each one of these are as much as a thousand pounds of granulated
This simply shows the intended location for the carbon unit, which
is on the corner of -- I believe this is CAMELLIA and at the railroad
tracks. And this is that location. Our intent is to remove a part
of this existing canopy structure and to place the carbon unit directly
where that is.The carbon unit won't exceed the existing roof line
here.I see my time is up. Should I stop at that point? I simply
had a couple of other neighborhood --
You will have time for rebuttal if there is opposition. I didn't
ask for ex-parte. Does anybody have any?
I spoke with DION Aroner, and she
went through the proposal and the details that are similar to what
we found in the staff report.
And I went through -- talked to DION Aroner but mostly I talked to her about the height of the building
and constructive use.
I also spoke with DION today.
I didn't speak with her today.
I have also been at meetings with Linda Maio with regard to Pacific Steel Casting which included the health
risk assessment process.
Do you want to tell us about all the information you gained?
I don't think it's germane.
Let's continue with the public hearing.
Kelly wee. This is confusing.
There's three people listed?
D. Sanderson: Yeah. These are people
who filled in speaker cards, so they are available if you need them.
D. Sanderson: Two minutes or three
minutes? Three minutes.
D. Sanderson: Because they waited so
long.There are a small number of cards and they waited forever.
I actually don't have a whole lot to say because I have a number
of disagreements with the information that's been presented here.
And in the information you have, I think it's fairly incomplete.
I'm sure there are other people who are involved in the community
and who have looked this information over and some of us who have
Ph.D. in the field can provide better information to show how limited
I am just here to present about one limitation. There's been no
CEQA process. Now, supposedly for existing facilities involving
negligible or nonexistence of use at the time of determination,
you don't have to do any CEQA but look carefully at the settlement
agreement. It's included in your papers. What you will find is the
settlement agreement was used specifically because the facility
was increasing its use a great deal. You will find that in multiple
materials that you have.
So rather than being a negligible or no expansion of use, it's a
total expansion of use. It's a massive increase. You will find that
the company has said that they are actually increasing every single
year from 2004 a great deal to help build the Bay Bridge.
So that oversight of CEQA is just the tip of the iceberg. It's obvious,
you can find it in the materials there. And I urge you not to just
shuffle this through at 1:30 in the morning. That would be so disingenuous
and so disrespectful to public process.
Additionally, in the CEQA legislation it says additions to existing
structures provided that the additional net resulting increase not
result in more than 50 percent of floor area before the addition
of 2500 feet, whichever is less. I don't see how that's relevant.
We are talking about environmental impact. We are not talking about
building an extra room onto a building.
This guys, this carbon adsorption device, is intended to deal with
an odor problem that results from the emission of portably toxic
material. That's an environmental impact.
If, as the company has stated, the materials that are going to be
filtered are going to continue to increase as production continues
to increase, that is an expansion of use. It's not a negligible
or no expansion of use.
So I don't think we should be here even talking about passing this
permit. We have to go back and deal with the CEQA issue properly,
legally, and sufficiently. Because it hasn't been dealt with.
I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but I feel that
there's been totally some illegitimate process here and we have
to go back and do it properly.
Thank you. I'm out of time.
And Janice Schroeder.
Hello. I have lived at Curtis Street in Berkeley since 1979. And
since I have been exposed to the odors and the toxins from Pacific
Steel Casting, I suffer from headaches that become rather severe,
from tightening in my chest, from irritated throat and eyes, for
those years. And I urge all of the people on Z.A.B. here, with the
utmost respect, not to railroad this Use Permit request through.
I have suffered for 27 years, and I want to make this a final resolution
to the problem.
I have attended many, many hearings, and just listening to Mr. Mitchell
talk about the complaints lessening after the carbon adsorption
systems were installed in 1985 it was in plant number two. Complaints
lessened because the community was totally exhausted by the complaint
process that the air district has established. Day after day, spending
time in their homes, calling up, waiting for inspectors to come
and. And after the hearings and the unconditional abatement order
was issued, then inspectors came to our household and told us not
to complain any further. That it was resolved.
So complaints dropped off from sheer exhaustion and from discouragement
from the air district. The same thing followed in 1991. The odors
did not disappear. In 2005, plant one and plant two have been issued
an OB S. The carbon adsorption system has not been studied by an
independent expert to assure us it's going to capture all the pollutants.
I have no assurance that I am going to stop with the headaches,
with the tightness in my chest, that the respiratory ailments that
I suffer are going to stop.
We don't have a full emissions inventory. And that was promised
to us through the HRA process. We don't have a comprehensive flow
diagram to show all of the sources and what's going to be tied exactly
to the carbon system. What's going to happen to the areas in plant
3 where there is melting done? And from what I understand from the
staff report, that's not connected to the carbon system.
What about the grinding operations? That's not connected either.
And I don't have any information to tell me that those toxins that
are emitted from the plant are going to be captured 100 percent.
So I ask people at this late date, if I have been able to suffer
through this for 27 years, I don't want to see something rushed
through that hasn't been researched thoroughly. And I ask you to
please -- I mean, all of you must be exhausted. I know that I'm
tired. You must be exhausted. Please don't rush through this. Thank
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
Good evening, I live on magnolia street in Menlo Park, California.
I am here as an expert witness for the alliance. I have a Ph.D.
in environmental engineering, and air quality is my specialty. I
have done a post-doc at U.C. Davis in toxics, and additionally I
was on the hearing board for three years and planning Commissioner
for four years in Menlo Park, and I serve on a number of other hearing
boards -- I'm sorry, boards. I am very tired so I apologize for
This is a slam dunk. I mean, we sat through hours of the last case
and before you you have a report, environmental report, that's this
thick on what are the impacts. For this project, there is none.
There's nothing. There is no information on the impacts of this
project. This is a process. In addition to that, CEQA requires,
even if you go for categorical exemption which is being done here,
and I was a planning Commissioner so I deal with CEQA all the time
and it requires the project be defined. It says right in your report
that the district and PSC has not defined how big the filter is
going to be, how much space it's going to use. And so I would say
that you need to first define it before you are going to categorically
exempt it. Because we can't keep track of a moving target.
In addition to that, this is not a minor alteration to any building.
This is a $2 million, 45-foot concrete platform that's going to
be built. In addition to that, the toxic nature of this is very
unusual. The reports by the district show that benzene, dichlor
ethylene, and all kinds of things are being emitted. And when you
Mick that with carbon, I can tell you DIOXINS can form. And that's
all CEQA needs, can, may it, will it. There is a possibility and
there has been no report to show otherwise.
We don't even know what the emissions from these operations that
are specifically defined tonight to go through this are emitting.
That's the basic thing you need in your report is let's know what's
going out and is going to be sent through this device so we can
understand the reactions. And that's missing and it's inadequate
from a CEQA standpoint. You need to be able to identify whether
or not byproducts are going to form. And from a standpoint of science,
there is a propensity for activated carbon to catalyze reactions.
It selectively removes some chemicals. Thank you. But very selectively.
Are there questions?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
I urge you very much to reconsider and get an environmental report.
I think when you summarized you answered my question but basically
what you are saying is that by installing this filter, that the
end result might actually -- regardless of the increase of work
being done at the other plants or even at this plant, regardless
of the increase of work that's being done, just the installation
of this filter could result in more harmful activity or more harmful
Tony Stein, Ph.D. Yes, that's correct. And specifically
it would be the chemical byproducts from the reaction with this
device that have not been even determined through a small demonstration
study or some other use at another plant. Because these mold materials,
they state in the staff report on page 5 of 13, that these are different
mold binders used in this building than in any other part of the
If that's the case, then what are -- I may have a question later.
Okay. Yeah, Rick.
R. Judd: Have you worked on installation
systems like this in other places?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
My Ph.D. was in absorbent systems. It was funded by the electronic
power institute and yes I had fluidized beds of carbon adsorption
and it was for Mercury removal.
And where was that?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati. It's what my Ph.D. is in
R. Judd: So this was a facility
at the University of Cincinnati?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
No, a demonstration.
R. Judd: And did DIOXINS form?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
In that application, no.
R. Judd: Have you ever --
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
Absolutely it is --
R. Judd: Let me finish the question.
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
R. Judd: Have you ever seen an
installation like this one where DIOXINS formed?
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
I've studied an application of combustion. Specifically, I could
describe it. It's where --
R. Judd: No. It is late, and I'm
sure there are a lot of --
Tony Stein, Ph.D.
My answer to you is what I have described to you before is at Pacific
Steel Casting in this operation going through this device is very
unusual. And you are not going to find particularly precisely that
application and circumstance. And that's what makes it need to be
studied carefully under environmental review. That's what CEQA requires.
R. Judd: Thank you.
I don't know -- this is a travesty. This is a travesty. After four
hours of listening to Berkeley Bowl, you are going to take up an
issue at 1:30 in the morning that has been bedevilling the Berkeley
community for 27 years. Because DION Erinner runs around talking
to Calvin Fong and PSC and then informs your staff when it's going
to happen. This is a travesty, and I hope my quote ends up in the
I'm sorry bronstein left. It would have been interesting, her response.
You are hearing this huge issue when you all are exhausted. This
gentleman here has indicated he is tired and wants to go home. I
do not feel we are going to get a fair hearing from you all today.
And I am disgusted by this process.
Pacific Steel Casting is a project that has been bedevilling West
Berkeley for its pollution for 27 years. The West Berkeley alliance
in our statement does not want to shut the factory down. They provide
good jobs for people in West Berkeley. We want to see it stay, but
we want to see it clean up.
And we don't -- we are not confident from our experience so far
with the air district and PSC who have been huddling out the whole
meeting, huddling together exchanging notes, we are not confident
that this new adsorption system is really going to address the full
range of problems we have to face. And we are not confident, as
your staff is, that if it doesn't that you all in a year or two
years are going to revoke their permit or incite Pacific Steel,
the fourth largest employer in Berkeley, as a nuisance. The staff
has assured me you all will revoke their permit if things don't
go well. I am not confident of that.
Now is the time before they spend their $2 million on the carbon
adsorption system, now is the time to do the full review, do real
environmental review. What does this mean, how does it impact the
rest of the system, what is the real environmental impact. Not to
rush this through and later say oh, it didn't quite work. I guess
we will revoke their permit. It's not going to happen. You are not
going to revoke it.
This is a charade. Orders from the mayor, I guess? DION whispering
in Fong's ear. This is how business is done in Berkeley, and I guess
I am expecting -- I will be interested in hearing your commentary
because I know you all want to get home. I have 26 more minutes.
What else can I say to the Z.A.B. at 1:45 in the morning? Monitoring.
I don't know, my brain has gone. The fact you are taking this serious
subject up at this time is indication of how seriously this going
to be treated. And I hope my quotes show up in the "Daily Planet"
tomorrow. But -- so I thank you for your time listening to me and
I look forward to your comments.
Calvin King. Have I got the name right? There
You are the president of the GMP 164 dash B.
Good morning. My name is Calvin King Jr,
I am the president of GMP local 164B, Northern California. I have
two things dear to me. I work at Pacific Steel Casting company,
I have been working there 37 and a half years. I am also the president
of the local union whose members work in that shop to look for their
livelihood to take care of their families by working. And 15 years
ago, and as the gentleman says, it's late, I was here speaking at
1:30, 15 years ago, about plant two and plant one. Now I am back
again today. And I think it's a shame that we can't get along in
the community. My members spend a lot of money in the community.
And we go around and we do a lot of things in the community over
But here again, it's the pitfall. We have families down there that
work hard. We have generations of family. I had three brother-in-laws
work there, and two sons-in law. So we have good union paying jobs,
insurance and everything.
And like they say, they say they are not trying to close us up but
every time you turn around there is something in the wind talking
about taking away the Use Permit. Even I know if you take away the
Use Permit that means big heavy fines. And since I have been here
this evening I have four phone calls out in the hallway, wanting
to knows what's going on, what's taking so long, how come I haven't
come back and given my report.
Believe me, tomorrow I will be giving my report, not on what happened
here right now but what happened with Berkeley Bowl, because we
do do a lot of reading and like the guy said earlier, Emeryville
is on its way to Berkeley and we know it. We also keep up with going
on in Albany too. And it's no secret. We have to work on people
and we know that change is going to come. When we don't know but
we know it's on its way.
So that's all I have to say. Thank you.
oe EMERISHT. Wait a minute, I skipped someone
because I couldn't pronounce their name. Sorry. Go ahead.
Good morning, I am Joe E., and I am the general
manager at Pacific Steel. And I have been up for 23 hours. I am
68 years old, and in good shape. Never had a headache in the foundry.
And we have never in the 43 years, have never anybody had anybody
go home for being sick, being nauseous, having headaches. And what
else can I say?
You know, I know the neighbors are concerned about our employees.
We have one of the best safety records in the country.
I could keep on going, you know. We don't prove anything in there.
We make steel, we make steel castings, for wheelchairs, for trucks,
you name it.
But again, like I said, we have -- people -- I stay in contact with
people who are retired. Nobody ever retired being sick. Nobody left.
And we employ 650 people. We treat people very good. We're just
like a big family.
I run the place. I am there at 4:30 in the morning. I spend a lot
of hours there. And I have two sons working there. And we have another
person who is going to talk, he has seven kids, and his father worked
for me. His three brothers worked for Pacific Steel. We're a fine
outfit. Thank you.
I have a question. It's been said tonight that the bonding agent
in plant three is a new bonding agent that could produce for all
we know DIOXINS. Do you know anything about this?
No, not at all.
Okay. I am going to try it. Alejandro SHENANDer. Did I do it?
First of all, thank you for giving me this opportunity. You know,
I'm here to support Pacific Steel Casting. I have been a West Berkeley
resident for almost 35 years, and I live only about eight blocks
away from Pacific Steel for all that time. And my wife and I have
had seven kids, like (inaudible) was -- like Joe was saying. And
they are all very healthy. I have three brothers and a couple of
cousins working there, my brother retired from there. Yeah, we are
very healthy. We never -- in fact, all the kids are grown -- most
of them are -- three adults, and there are still three children.
But I have -- we never had any type of health problems up till now.
And at least always -- I know that, like they said, that they are
always trying to -- they take care of their employees, and I'm pretty
sure they are concerned about everything. They are concerned about
And that's all I've got. Thank you.
[ Applause ].
There has been opposition. I have some questions of someone,
perhaps. I forgot your name. Mitchell? Tom Mitchell? Would you care
to respond to the bonding agent question? Or would perhaps -- you
would? Thank you.
Hi, I am Chris Chan, the environmental engineer
at Pacific Steel Casting.
One of the issues brought up is whether the binding agents or binders
used in plant 3 have been treated or filtered by a carbon unit,
is it effective or not. Am I correct on the question in.
When we make the decision whether carbon filters will work or not,
we actually did a lot of research and studies around the country.
There is one facility in Tempe, Arizona, that actually was previously
using the same agents as we did, we are, and they have came over
and did a study about carbon filters and did studies on whether
the filter carbon would be an effective system. In 1997 or maybe
1999 they put in a carbon unit, basically copied ours, and they
were able to effectively remove the -- a lot of organic dust in
the air stream.
And so based on that information, we are doing the exact same test
since we are using the same binders, we know this carbon filter
would work, and they have a long term -- it's 2006 now.
Are they in a populated part of Tempe?
They are also in an industrial area. They are surrounded by commercial
area. So they are populated.
Question? When you say that the Tempe project, their experience
was it successfully removed the toxins, who made that determination?
Is there a similar air quality board there that --
Correct. They have their air district who basically restrict their
emissions. And the same things just like us. They have their permits.
They have odor problems just like we did. When all the commercial
centers were still around them, basically they start getting complaints.
And they did a lot of study as well, and because they didn't --
there's nothing off the shelf big enough for the purpose, they came
up with the system we put in in 1981 and 1995. And they went back
with the ideas they took from us and built their custom built system
to filter their carbon.
I have another question. Filter the air. I'm sorry.
One of my concerns is what happens if this system is not successful?
And what kind of monitoring program do you have? Let's say you complete
putting the system in and lo and behold, you have all three of your
plants on this carbon filter system and there are still complaints
from the neighborhood of odors and whatever else. What's your next
The carbon filter we have right now is just one of the many steps
we're looking into.
We submitted an odor management plan to the air district back in
March 31st, dated March 31st, and in it of course includes the carbon
unit. We also in it, voluntary, proposed a filter study, which was
started, not complete yet, where we would go into each facility
and look at doors opening to see if any additional work that we
can do to capture any filter emissions in that case. So even though
carbon is a 2 million big commitment from the company, we don't
believe that's the end for us. We are committed to be in Berkeley
and to be good neighbors.This issue is new to us back in the '80s
but it's not new to us now because we are learning as the operation
Let me ask you, then, do you take emissions tests from the tops
of the stacks?
There is a health risk assessment, being overseen by the air district
that's going on right now and that study is scheduled to come out
I believe June 30th. We hired a contractor and consultant, and they
have -- this is a very extensive source testing studies where we
pay for the consultant, and they go into different stacks and monitor
the chemical emissions from the site. You know, coming out. It's
already in the works.
Thank you. Appreciate it.
Dean was first and then....
D. Metzger: I'd like to ask you a question
and the air board a question as well. What's going to be different
between what goes on in plant three versus what goes on in plant
one and two? What's the difference in each one of the plants in
what you are producing?
The metal part is the same. The difference between the three plants
is they focus on different steel castings that we make and as far
as the binders go, they are slightly different. Plant one and two,
we have previously determined carbon already works for them. Plant
three, there has been -- because of open space, there has been a
lot of technical problem as to how we can make it work for carbon.
We were able to work around that.
So basically, the difference I would say is the products we make,
the size of the casting. They are all steel castings and that's
all we make.
D. Metzger: Is that all the same alloy
of steels or is there different alloy in each plant or does each
plant produce basically the same thing, only different size castings?
They are about the same, different size. Plant one makes a small
casting, plant two makes medium size and plant three makes large
castings, seven or 8,000 pound castings we are talking about.
And my question for whoever is the expert on the air board,
is after they have installed the carbon collectors on plants one
and two, did you do a study before and after? And I'm more interested
in after than before, but I'd like to know if you did that. And
if so, what was the results?
We have done source tested these units but since these devices are
being put ton for odors, odors are not easy to quantify through
instrumentation. Oftentimes human nose is more sensitive. So the
type of testing done to make sure they run at efficiency is to run
it through an odor panel which is a group of people that sniff that
air to see if they can detect it at certain dilution threshold.
We have written into their permit procedures they must follow to
make sure it is odor free and to test emissions before it is emitted
from the carbon bed.
This doesn't really filter out smoke and all the rest. This
is just an odor system? The bag, I assume, takes care of the particles.
There's a bag in front of that that takes care of par particulates.
>>>: Is the bag like a vacuum bag?
BAAQMD: That would be fair to say.
J. Anthony: I wanted to
ask, because I am a victim of whatever was going on. I mean I was
a victim. And it took forever for anyone to catch it. You could
be driving down San Pablo, and somebody says they have headaches,
so did I. And cough, too.
And so I'm more worried about the particulates, I guess, than I
was about the --
How often do you check these things? Because it should have been
recognized long before anything was done about it. How long -- how
often do you check to see if this equipment is working?
well, we have air quality inspectors that are in that facility approximately
once a year.
J. Anthony: Oh, okay.
The recent problems have been occuring because there has been
an increase in production in plant three and we have seen a precipitous
increase in complaints from the community. We do inspect that facility
regularly for their permits and checking all their sources for operation.
And because of the increased attention and concern of the community,
we have been doing extensive source testing there as well as requiring
the company to source test to answer some of these questions that
are being posed in the health risk assessment.
J. Anthony: Thank you.
We have more questions for you.
During the sampling process and your experience from the carbon
filter being install at plants one and two, does that process involve
what we heard earlier about potential side effects of dioxins being
emitted as a byproduct of the carbon adsorption. Is that something
you would look at?
PSC: Normally in an engineering environment you
would not expect dioxins formed. We have specifically doing dioxin
tests of the existing plant to confirm what we believe in the engineering
that there should not be any dioxins being emitted from the two
But there will be monitoring of dioxins, among other compounds,
at this site?
PSC: We could consider dioxin tests at plant three
once that is built. But it's one of the things, if you can avoid
-- the elevated temperatures are in the neighborhood of 1400 degrees,
Brian, or higher?
You have to come to the mike.
Brian Bateman, director of engineering. Dioxin
formation is within a temperature window and actually it can go
down to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit up to the higher temperatures
that Kelly was indicating.The carbon beds operate at ambient temperature
so it's going to be maybe 70 degrees, it wouldn't be much more than
So you really wouldn't expect to see any dioxin formation at
those temperatures whatsoever.
If I could follow-up on the question I had for somebody else
to you. When you are measuring the outflow from these chimneys for
odors, are you also measuring for other elements?
Yes, but the source testing that was mentioned before, I think there's
probably 40 separate compounds that are being analyzed in terms
of just programmatic source testing program. Various metals, organic
compounds, some volume tiles, dioxins was mentioned.
Specifically what the emissions are through these stacks, are
you measuring those as they are leaving the stacks?
And can you in any way describe to us in lay terms what kind of
emissions there are there and what effects they might have? Because
I think the carbon system sounds great for the odors. I had a little
experience with the kind of filter bags that are used and I can't
imagine that they are catching everything and that there aren't
particulates going through those and out the carbon filter system
and out the stack and to the neighborhood. And what's the level
of those if you can quantify that in some way.
I think it was mentioned before there is a assessment. The study
is completed, the numbers are being compiled now. I think Christine
Chan mentioned at the end of June we will have that report
finalized so I could give I more information at that point. In terms
of the emissions from the plant in terms of particulate matter,
the metal fumes are particulate matter, those will be caught in
the bag house. You don't want those getting into your carbon adsorper.
There are filters to eliminate any particulate matter because particulate
matter and carbon doesn't get along well so you need to catch it
before the carbon. And all the sources, particulate matter have
some sort of fabric filtration. So the particulate matter is pretty
close to controlled there. Again, we are doing the testing on the
stack to confirm that the emissions are low enough in terms of the
resulting health risk in the community.
Thank you. Do you or people on your staff have experience
with other carbon adsorption systems?
Many hundreds in the Bay Area. Carbon is a very well established
technology. It's been around for decades.
Have you run into this dioxin situation?
Never heard of it.
Carbon doesn't operate at the elevated temperatures where you are
going to get dioxin formation.
I guess I should disclose I used to smoke TerryTONs.
That explains a lot.
I gather that plant three has been functioning in the open, that's
what's been going on so far and a lot of this construction is simply
about containment of the process. And then finding a non-off the shelf
filter to deal with that space. You are nodding to say yes, that's
Absolutely. Yes. The operation I goes that are being controlled in
plant three are of a large scale. They cover several thousand square
feet within the plant. The only practical way to control those is
to build interior walls to completely enclose those operations and
evacuate the air in the entire space and vent it through the control
And this wasn't done before, one presumes, the reason plant three
is coming late, is to find a way to contain it.
Exactly. The smaller plants in one and two can be hooded. Plant three,
the castings are so large and the operations over such a large area
that you just have to construct essentially a smaller room within
the whole foundry building, evacuate all the air and treat it. And
that's what the plan is.
Thank you. Other questions? Andy.
A. Katz: To what extent is the plant
supporting toxic reduction in terms of the process that's happening
in the next few months? To what extent is the air district encouraging
Pacific Steel to reduce or eliminate the amount of toxics in the materials?
Yes. There is a program for that specifically in California. It's
the air toxics hot spots program. The state program which is implemented
by the local air districts. And the requirements for toxic use reduction
are based on the result of the health risk assessment.
So the first step is to see what the health risk assessment says.
If the risks are high enough, then there are requirements for toxics
reduction, called a risk reduction audit. And if the risk are high
enough, they have to develop a plan to reduce the risks by material
substitutions, additional controls, whatever it takes.
A. Katz: By extension of what you just
said, the air district will be encouraging Pacific Steel to reduce
We will be requiring them to do that if the risks are above the levels
that are -- that mandate those type of actions. But the first step
is the risk assessment.
My question is for Tom. Thank you. Tom, one of the issues I think
here is trust from the neighborhood. And I suspect this has built
up over a long period of time.
What are you guys prepared to do to get the neighbors informed as
to what's happening at your company and to keep them informed so that
they can trust the information that they are getting? The big issue
for me is when a company promises to do something and then they don't
do this, which I understand has happened in the past in the reading
of the material I have read. We need to know or be assured of what
is Pacific Steel's program to make sure that the neighbors are informed
about what's going on and what's happening to them and their environment?
Dean, as the engineer on this particular project and outside consultant
I am probably not the one to respond to that. But probably Chris as
the Pacific Steel --
Hi again. We are definitely --
Oops, sorry. Kids calling. No, actually, husband is calling. Anyway,
actually, we are changing our Web site. We already have made modification
on our Web site to include all the submittal to the air district so
neighbors are up-to-date of the status of the health care assessment,
and possibly also the construction, the status of the carbon unit.
Where are you? They are all going to start ringing.
Anyway. Those things, we do believe that we have to work --
That's it. The bars are definitely closed
[ Laughter ]
Okay. We do want to talk to our neighbors. We do want to reach out
to them. That door is open. We do believe we can co-exist in Berkeley.
And to me this is a very important position we are in. We are protecting
600-plus staff of good jobs, not just any jobs, and a lot of them
do live around this area.
I understand that.
But one of the difficulties I always have when people start talking
about putting things on Web sites there are a few people left in this
world who don't have computers yet. And I also find that electronic
communication is very impersonal. And I think that your company needs
to look at this as a more personal matter with the neighborhood. And
I would encourage you to somehow or another put together a program
that actually involves the neighbors where you meet with the neighbors.
I don't know how often or whatever.
You make written information available and you actually mail it to
them or you deliver it with a person from your company around to your
porches so they know. I think the biggest problem we have here is
credibility, and you have got to make yourself credible to the neighborhood.
So I urge you to put a program together that will begin to get that
We are open to suggestions, and thank you for the suggestions.
About five years ago we actually tried to host five different community
meetings and post it in the newspapers and fliers. We were not too
successful in getting people coming to our meetings. But there is
a lot of things that we are open to do.
We know we have a lot of focus to improve our facility. We are open
to suggestions or other alternates.
Thank you. So I am going to bring this back to the board if there
are no further questions, for motions, discussion or what have you.
I move to approve the staff recommendation. I think my big concern
in terms of what's actually before us was that we not make things
worse. I don't think there is any credible evidence in front of us
that this is going to make things worse.
I don't think approving this Use Permit, which is really to expand
the structure so this carbon system can go in, involves us in determining
that the situation is acceptable or perfect or couldn't be better.
So if it turns out there is a nuisance from this property, we still
have all the authority we ever would have had to deal with the nuisance.
I would certainly prefer to see the air board, which has some very
large multiple of the expertise that the City of Berkeley has, deal
with this first and see where we get.
Did you get that motion down?
Did you miss any words on that?
D. Sanderson: I didn't get the seconder.
Staff has some changes in the conditions of approval. Can I read those
into the record?
D. Sanderson: There are three that
apply that specify it applies to this facility. Condition number three
that it applies to the carbon adsorption unit. Condition number ten
that it applies to this project. These are the ones about construction,
that it applies. Construction traffic management applies to the project
which is always the way that our conditions read, that the company
was nervous it might apply to the whole operation. Condition 31, these
are the really substantive ones. What we are suggesting the changes
in 31 is that is submitting to the city on a regular basis within
seven calendar days any notice of violation that they receive from
the air district that apply to the first five years after the carbon
adsorption unit is in place because it would give us -- So we are
giving a limit of five years. That's the big change.
D. Sanderson: Limit of five years.
That's really the only change in 31
D. Sanderson: Yes, that is the only
change in 31.
All right. Is that acceptable?
But I think she has more. Darn.
D. Sanderson: 32 and 33.
Of course. Foolish me.
D. Sanderson: That was the only change for 31. Wasn't that the
So 32 is the only change there is the second paragraph that when
we get the annual report, we would put them on the Z.A.B. agenda.
That the information would come to you. If there's a problem you could
call a public hearing. If all is going well and there is no problem,
then you are not obliged to hold a public hearing. Is that clear?
And 33 would be you would place the cost of staff monitoring on the
D. Blake: That's good. I like that. Rick has
no objection to that I bet.
D. Sanderson: I think Rick would
D. Blake: Before we vote on this I would like
to say for me myself they may be spending $2 million on this but if
we are all wrong and all this stuff is in error I will have no compunction
about tearing the building down if that comes before me.
A. Katz: I like the conditions about review at
the Z.A.B. in the future. And I want to just encourage the air district
and Pacific Steel Casting to look at the cumulative impacts of what's
happening in West Berkeley. This isn't the only emitter of toxins
in the area. There are others too.
That's real why it's important to look at how to reduce the amount
of toxins used in the production process. And I would hope that Pacific
Steel Casting takes that seriously, because if this doesn't go well
and the community is still, after this is all done, if there are still
problems and still health concerns, this board does have to look at
how to protect the health and safety of our residents.
And that's very important to us.
D. Blake: Way to take advantage of this opportunity.
D. Sanderson: I would like to take
one opportunity to make it clear to all parties that the staff has
talked with the neighbors and with the air district and with the company
and made it very clear that as far as we are concerned, the city has
the opportunity still, if the problem persists, to take this up as
a nuisance item and that this in no way limits our ability to take
this up as a nuisance item. And I think all the parties have been
informed. And I wanted that in the record.
D. Blake: All right. Without further ado, I am
going to call for a voice vote. All those in fair, signify by saying
D. Blake: Opposed?
You have your permit and this matter is appealable to the city
council within ten days of publication.
Are we adjourned?
D. Blake: We are adjourned. (2:14 a.m.)