POINT RICHMOND (CBS SF) – A group of neighbors including Richmond Mayor Tom Butt are angry over what they claim is the illegal dumping of soil containing cancer-causing PCBs near their Point Richmond homes.
Edie Sellers told KPIX 5 that the three large piles of soil covered with tarps appeared in a fenced-in area near Canal Boulevard a couple weeks ago.
What has she and her neighbors so upset are the posted signs warning that the soil contains PCBs.
“It’s really disturbing that anyone could make a big pile of potentially cancer-causing dirt appear in your front yard,” she told KPIX 5.
What has them even more angered is when they checked with city officials, they discovered the dumping has not been permitted.
Andrew Neilly, a spokesman for Wareham Development, tells KPIX 5 the dirt comes from the ground under a parking garage they’re building in Emeryville
He said the construction company has been temporarily storing it on company property.
Wareham Development said the soil was tested and it was determined that the PCB actually only makes up less than 2 parts per million. So, at that level, the spokesman insists that government standards indicate it’s not toxic.
But the company did admit they didn’t get city permits to put the dirt here because, they say, they didn’t realize they had to.
The Richmond mayor said the company did apply for a permit, but the request was rejected.
“An executive with the water board told me that they were not authorize in any way to do this,” he said.
Sellers called the dumping “a mighty big oops.”
“You don’t oops with things like PCB’s!” she said.
Wareham Development has insisted it was just depositing the soil at the location and plans to move it.
Butt said the three piles have got to go.
“I know Wareham said they didn’t dump it, they deposited it or move it or whatever,” he told KPIX 5. “My take on it is that it was dumped. They came in dump trucks and dumped it.”