City Council District 1
City Council District 1

Councilmember Linda Maio
Community Issues - Pacific Steel Casting


This part of Councilmember Maio's website is focused on providing the most current information we have on the status of reducing emissions from Pacific Steel Casting, at Gilman and Second Street.  We are awaiting the details on their Odor Control Plan.  The year-long monitoring at Camelia and 6th results are immediately below.  The Mayor, who sits on the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board, is working with the Board and Pacific Steel to come up with a binding agreement for the further reduction of odors and emissions from the plant. When we have a proposal that looks viable, it will be taken through the public process via the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. Updates will be posted on this website.


Jump to:
About Pacific Steel Casting
Reporting Odor Complaints
Timelines/Deadlines
Letters and Documents (November 2008 to present)
Letters and Documents (prior to November 2008)
West Berkeley Allicance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs


ABOUT PACIFIC STEEL CASTING
www.PacificSteel.com

Pacific Steel Casting (PSC) is the third largest foundry of its kind in the country. It has been in West Berkeley for more than 50 years on both sides of 2nd Street, just south of Gilman. It is a specialty casting heavy manufacturer that hires 500 workers in shifts. Ore is melted and poured into sand castings. The sand has a binder or glue to keep its shape. Some binders are flour based others are phenolic based. Experts assume odors are generated when molten metal is poured into the sand casts with phenolic binder. PSC is actively looking for alternative binders.


REPORTING ODOR COMPLAINTS

Air pollution and odor complaints can be made 24-hours a day, 7-days a week to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s toll-free hotline: 1-800-334-6367

Whenever possible, unless you request not to be, you will be contacted in person by an inspector, usually within an hour. Your name and address are treated as confidential and will be given to no one but Air District staff, except where required in matters before the court. You are strongly urged not to call others during the time you are reporting the incident. It is imperative that reports be independent.  Inspectors will attempt to confirm your odor complaint, determine its cause, and prepare a written report for each for each complaint investigation. 

More information on the Air District's Compliance and Enforcement Division. 

If you make a report, please send Councilmember Maio the time, date, and nature of the report to her via email, and include your perspective on how that report was resolved by the District.  This will enable our Council office to also track complaints and how they are addressed.


TIMELINES / DEADLINES 

1. Air Quality Monitoring Station established by the Air District (2009)

This station concluded its one-year monitoring in early 2009. The results are reported in a letter to Mayor Bates (go to letter). The District has indicated it would like to keep the station active for as much as another year. In September, 2009, Councilmember Maio and Mayor Bates will meet with the Community Environmental Advisory Commission to update them on the progress of acquiring a complete copy of the PSC Odor Control Plan and any other pertinent issues that are relevant.

2. Odor Control Plan (when submitted to district; when approved by district, when released to us in a redacted version, when Berkeley made an FOIA request for the complete version, when Pacific Steel filed with the courts to keep proprietary information redacted, when decision from the courst is expected.

3. Draft Health Risk Assessment (HRA) Protocol is ready for distribution (Aug. 26, 2005)
    3a. Written public comments due (Sept. 13, 2005)
    3b. Revised HRA Protocol published; includes responses to public comments (1-4 weeks)

4. Draft emissions testing procedures to acquire data (Sept. 15, 2005)
   
 4
a. Written comments due (Sept. 30, 2005)
    4b. Revised emission protocol published; includes responses to public comments (1-4     weeks)

5. Emissions testing to be done at site about Oct. 7, 2005 - Jan. 15, 2006  Rev. Mar. 31, 2006

6. Updated Emissions Inventory Report Released ~ about Jan 15, 2006. Rev. May 19, 2006.  Rev. July 31, 2006. Rev. Sept. 8, 2006.  Rev. Dec. 15, 2006

7. Draft HRA (February 28, 2006)  Rev. June 30, 2006.  Rev. July 31, 2006.  Rev. Sept. 8, 2006  Rev. Jan. 15, 2007
    7a. Written comments deadline: City to negotiate for more than 2 weeks
    7b. Final HRA released; includes responses to public comment

8. Air District to review data and conduct engineering review for mitigations proposed by PSC and their consultants. BAAQMD anticipates that the odor mitigation engineering controls chosen for the site will be installed in phases. BAAQMD engineers will evaluate equipment and they will seek input from neighborhood to determine the extent of odors that remain. Community should be logging objectionable odors to hand over to the BAAQMD. This may be an iterative process. BAAQMD will, if necessary, use its enforcement powers to impose solutions. The following schedule for odor control measures was provided by the BAAQMD at the January 31, 2006 community meeting at the West Berkeley Senior Center:

Submit application for authority to construct system (Dec. 30, 2005)
Automate electric arc furnace baghouse blower in Plant #3 (February 18, 2006)
Odor Management Plan for the entire facility (March 31, 2006)
Obtain City, District and other permits and approvals (May 31, 2006)
Complete plant modifications to accommodate carbon adsorption (July 31, 2006)
Complete installation of carbon adsorption system (Sept. 30, 2006)
Abatement system confirmed fully operational (Oct. 15, 2006)

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in a letter to Interested Parties dated December 20, 2007, Pacific Steel Casting Company (PSC) has prepared a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) in order to meet the requirements of the Air Toxics Hot Spots (ATHS) program. BAAQMD is conducting a community meeting to be held at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at the West Berkeley Senior Center located at 1900 6th Street. BAAQMD and Cal/EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) have reviewed the HRA report and have made a preliminary determination that it was prepared in accordance with the statewide ATHS Health Risk Assessment Guidelines. At the meeting on January 9, staff from PSC will present the HRA report and answer questions from the public. Staff from BAAQMD and OEHHA will present information and answer questions regarding the HRA and risk assessment procedures.


LETTERS and DOCUMENTS

Several letters and documents relevant to Pacific Steel Casting are provided below. Additional documents will be added as they become available.

Summary and Analysis of West Berkeley Air Monitoring Results - April 14, 2009 (PDF Link)
The Air District’s West Berkeley Air Monitoring Station began operating on December 12, 2007. The sampling station is located approximately five blocks east of Interstate 80, near the northwest corner of 6th and Camelia Streets. After collecting data for the entire year of 2008, Air District Staff reviewed the data and developed the following summary and analysis of the results.

Letter to Mayor Tom Bates - April 14, 2009 (PDF Link)
Re: Summary and analysis of 2008 air monitoring results from the West Berkeley air monitoring station at 6th and Camelia Streets.  The fact that the air monitoring station did not reach actionable hazard levels does not mean that the City will abandon its efforts to continue to reduce emissions.

Health Risk Assessment Report - November 5, 2008 (Link)

You can also view Letters and Documents prior to November 2008.


WEST BERKELEY ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN AIR AND SAFE JOBS
www.WestBerkeleyAlliance.org

The West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs is a network of neighbors who have been tracking the impacts of Pacific Steel and the progress of mitigations.


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City Council District 1, 2180 Milvia Street, 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: lmaio@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7110
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