Long-awaited Refinery Dust Fallout Map is Released
Bay Area Air Management Quality District releases model on Thanksgiving Night "spent catalyst" release from Martinez Refining Co., will discuss findings at Wednesday's council meeting
After months of anticipation, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is set to present the City Council with its findings on where the toxic dust from the Martinez Refining Co.’s Thanksgiving night “spent catalyst” accident is believed to have landed. The presentation is scheduled for Wednesday’s City Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting includes the air district’s map modeling report. It can be read here.
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Based on my review of the report, the findings seem to confirm what was anecdotally shared in the days and weeks after the incident when residents reported finding the dust laden with heavy metals on their cars and around their homes.
The map below gives you a basic idea of where the dust was observed. It was largely concentrated in the downtown corridor to the west and southwest of the refinery around the Amtrak station on Marina Vista Avenue and along stretches of Shell Avenue and Berrellesa Street, consistent with the direction winds were blowing at the time. Air district officials will surely go into much more detail during Wednesday’s presentation and also put the findings into context, as well as discuss how the map will guide soil-sampling efforts to try to determine whether there have been any long-term environmental and health consequences from the release.
One important caveat is mentioned in the report, which also is surely to be discussed in more detail on Wednesday.
Simulations are highly uncertain, because key inputs are highly uncertain:
Exact timing of the catalyst emissions; and
Sizes of the catalyst particles when they were released.
The report also speculates that the large amount of rain that has fallen in the area since the release has likely dispersed the dust beyond where it originally fell.
The agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting, including information on how to join on Zoom, can be found here.
Meanwhile, the county’s MRC Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Thursday on Zoom, where it will also review the results of the air district’s dust fallout model. The agenda with Zoom log-in information can be found here.
More information and updates from the spent catalyst incident can be found on the web page for the oversight committee: https://cchealth.org/hazmat/mrc/
MUSD Offers Mental Health Support
The mental health crisis affecting youths nationwide continues to be a subject of attention and concern (I highly recommend reading this recent Washington Post editorial on the topic: “America’s teens are in crisis. States are racing to respond”).
The Martinez Unified School District has partnered with Care Solace to provide support to district families. From the district’s website:
If you or a family member are looking for help with mental health or substance use, Care Solace can help you quickly find treatment options matched to your needs regardless of the circumstance. Care Solace is a complimentary and confidential service provided to students, staff, and their families by Martinez Unified School District. Care Solace’s team is available 24/7/365 and can support you in any language.
If you would like to use Care Solace to help you find a provider:
Call 888-515-0595 available 24/7/365
Visit www.caresolace.com/martinezusd and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.
The Eagle Lands in Martinez
On a lighter note, I just had to share this post from the the Martinez Proud Facebook group over the weekend about a rare bald eagle sighting at the Martinez shoreline. An amazing sight to behold! (Perhaps the new mascot for the Morello Park Elementary School Eagles?)