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Richmond residents question safety of soil near neighborhood

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Neighbors and parents in a Richmond community are worried about potentially toxic soil near their homes and school. (KGO-TV)

Neighbors and parents in a Richmond community are worried about potentially toxic soil near their homes and school. Their fears come after a developer dumped a truck load of soil at a site on East Richmond Avenue.

The soil is labeled clearly, stating it has PCB in it. The company that put it there says the concentration of it is low enough that it is safe to use. Tell that to residents and dog walkers in this part of Richmond.

"If you say it's not that high that means the toxins are there, there is no safe level of toxins. I am very concerned this came out of nowhere," said Michael Nye, Richmond resident.

"This came from Emeryville, they could have stockpiled it in Emeryville, but they didn't they brought it to Richmond," said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

Wareham Development provided the city with this statement: "We have provided the city with two sets of tests that confirm the fill is below actionable levels. We will be returning the soil this week to the Emeryville site from which it originated for use in the construction of a new parking garage."

The company also says the regional water quality control board approved this temporary storage. The mayor disputes that.

"Of course there is no documentation they did. The water board has emailed me and said explicitly that they gave no authority for Wareham to park the soil and they are not happy about it," said Mayor Butt.

The company says it will start moving the soil back to Emeryville tomorrow. That eases some nerves in the community, but not completely.

"Can't be soon enough and then there should be tests to see if there are residual after effects," said Nye.

Wareham Development said the concentration of PCB is less than two parts part million and that the soil will be safe to use in a parking garage project in Emeryville.

Related Topics:
constructiontoxic wasteRichmond
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