Coast Guard Works to Clean Up Chemical Spill – Video

This mornings news report by KRON-TV is included at the end of the story.

RICHMOND, Calf. – The Coast Guard, along with the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the East Bay Regional Parks District, resumed oversight of cleanup efforts for a Toluene chemical spill at the Reaction Products facility in Richmond. Crews from Clean Harbors, the agency contracted to recover the product, resumed work at 7:00 a.m. today.

Approximately 3,300 gallons of the chemical was released from tank, most of which went into a nearby irrigation ditch. The remainder of the chemical went into the marsh surrounding the facility, and an unknown quantity reached San Pablo Bay, where it is expected to dissapate. Efforts to determine the exact amount that entered the bay are ongoing.

Crews recovered approximately 3,000 gallons of Toluene and water mixture yesterday, and have recovered another 1,300 gallons of the water and chemical mixture from the irrigation ditch and surrounding area as of 3:00 p.m. Workers have constructed a filtration system at the mouth of the irrigation ditch to minimize the amount of product flowing into San Pablo Bay with the changing tide.

Though environmental impact first appeared to be negligable, an Office of Spill Prevention and Response official reported finding dozens of small dead fish and two dead mallards in the nearby irrigation ditch this afternoon. The species of fish has been determined to be Sculpin and Stickleback by a Department of Fish and Game biologist, and are not endangered.

For safety reasons, East Bay Regional Parks District officials have closed Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, all access routes to the shoreline, and the fishing pier, until at least tomorrow morning.

The cleanup effort is expected to continue until sundown this evening, and resume again tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.

Independent investigations into the incident and the corresponding environmental impact are being conducted by Federal, State and local agencies.

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