Home » City of Martinez Says it Supports Contra Costa County Health Advisory

City of Martinez Says it Supports Contra Costa County Health Advisory

by CC News

The City of Martinez City Council and staff are actively monitoring the recommendations from Contra Costa Health (CC Health) following the release of spent catalyst at the Martinez Refining Company (MRC) in November.

CC Health issued a health advisory on March 7, 2023, informing area residents to not consume fruits or vegetables grown in soil exposed to substances released last November until soil testing is complete and the results have been received and evaluated.

To avoid potential concerns, County Health officials recommended local gardeners replace the top 12 inches of exposed soil prior to growing plants for consumption.

“The City of Martinez supports Contra Costa Health in responding to and investigating this event,” said Martinez Mayor Brianne Zorn. “While we recognize that the County’s recommendation to not consume items grown in our own back yards is out of an abundance of caution, we are taking measures that can help advocate for the health of our residents.”

“We know how frustrated our community is with this incident and its impacts. I have personally communicated our concerns with the County, as well as MRC’s management team,” she said. MRC informed the City that a claims line has been established to address concerns of those impacted by the release last November (800-542-7113). For residents replacing soil consistent with CC Health guidance, the City recommends keeping documentation of all expenditures to submit with their claim.

City Actions: Ongoing Communication and Compost Giveaway

The City will continue to keep the community informed about MRC’s actions by hosting community meetings as needed, sending frequent community-wide informational emails, and providing updates at all Council meetings. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the City’s e-newsletter here. In addition, the City of Martinez is serving on the County’s MRC Oversight Committee, along with six Martinez residents, which will oversee the work of independent experts charged with conducting soil sampling and a community risk assessment. The City posts information about the incident and any updates on its website here.

The City urges MRC to increase its communications and outreach with residents in the City and the County. “Our top priority is to work with CC Health and MRC to ensure residents are better informed as the incident investigation continues” the Mayor said.

Further, the City is working with Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office to expand use of the County-wide “Community Warning System” in the coming weeks.  The goal of this is to provide broader community notifications, including via text message, when lower-level incidents occur that could impact community safety. Community members are encouraged to sign up now so they will begin receiving increased notifications from the City as soon as the program goes live. Visit http://cwsalerts.com/registration to sign up.

The City of Martinez is partnering with Republic Services to host a free compost giveaway on Saturday, March 25th from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Martinez Marina. The City has confirmed that the compost is regularly sampled for contaminants per State guidelines and is certified for use. So far, approximately 130 residents have pre-registered to receive compost. In response to a community need, Republic Services has agreed to reopen registration to allow for additional registrations. Anyone with a Martinez 94553 address is eligible to participate. Registrants must bring an ID, a shovel, containers, gloves, and wear closed-toe shoes. For more details and to register, go here.

County Offers Gardening Tip After Spent Catalyst Possibly Made Way into Martinez Soil

Contra Costa Health Services said Thursday it continues to look into the Nov. 24-25 release of heavy metals by Martinez Refining Company. They say its possible spent catalyst made its way into soil and got absorbed by plants. They then recommend not eating those foods and to try growing plants in planters with new soil. Next, Contra Costa Health Services directed residents to a document which has not been updated since January 11, 2023. — Full Story

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