To: Loretta Larsarmian, Executive Officer
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
From: City of Berkeley, November 20, 1995
Dear Ms. Larsamian:
The Berkeley City Council at its meeting of November 14, 1995, unanimously adopted the recommendation by the Community Environmental Advisory Commission, to urge the State Water Resources Control Board and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board to take the position that any future relaxation of the clean-up standards to our ground waters must be approved through a public hearing process that adequately reaches the community impacted and explains in understandable terms the real or potential treat to health or property.
The new guidelines suggest that clean up levels be determined primarily by computer modeling for human health risks. This new policy or guideline will result in higher levels of contamination being left in place. This will result in cases where permissible levels of contamination left in place may migrate off-site and may impact both property values and environmental health. For this reason, it is suggested that the community, and neighbors in particular, be allowed to comment and influence both Boards' process where higher levels of contamination is to be left in place as a result of the proposed new ruling.
The City of Berkeley has a long history of consumer protection and Right-to-Know Policies in the environmental field. For this reason the Council has adopted many forward thinking programs such as the ban on nuclear weapons research, controlling ozone depleting compounds and promotion of pollution prevention. The City of Berkeley is one of a few that has its own environmental management divisions and implements environmental codes and regulations locally.
cc: Lynn Suter, City Lobbyist
CALIFORNIA REGIONAL WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD
SAN FRANCISCO BAY REGION, June 19, 1995 File No. 219817 (SIM)
Mr. Steve Belcher Assistant City Manager City of Berkeley Toxics Management Program 2065 Kittridge Street, Suite K Berkeley, CA 94704
Subject: Closing Out Low-Impact Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Cases
Dear Mr. Belcher:
I am writing this to discuss the way we prioritize the UST cases we both work on. As you know, last year the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) developed a LUST prioritization process. This prioritization is now part of the Regional Board LUST program (which includes the Local Implementing Agencies). For those agencies which are part of the SWRCB's Local Oversight Program, the prioritization scheme is part of the contract. The prioritization scheme and our general practice has been to follow the "worst first" approach, giving priority to sites that pose the greatest threat to public health, groundwater, or the environment. As part of this scheme, a site can be elevated in priority where an administrative need exists such as public, responsible party, or political concerns that require expeditious efforts.
In recent months, the SWRCB's Division of Clean Water Programs has expressed concerns that its statewide list of cases include many low-impact cases which actually require little or no further action in order to be closed The most obvious example is the case where the tank has been pulled, there is no free product, and only soil has been impacted. Further, the legislature and others are questioning the efficacy of the Regional Boards and local agencies progress on closing LUST cases.
I share this concern. I believe we would mutually benefit it some of our staff resources were allocated to closing these low-impact cases. In so doing we would free the affected parcels for economic use, eliminate further potential claims against the UST Fund, and give the legislature and others a truer picture of our progress in the UST cleanup effort.
In light of these considerations, I have directed Regional Board staff to allocate some of their time to review and close low-impact cases, especially those involving only soil contamination. The SWRCB priority scheme can readily accommodate this approach. I believe the same logic applies to your LUST cases, and I urge you to consider a similar approach.