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Bay area chemical release triggers emergency response

Release Date: 06/06/2006
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, EPA, 415/760-5422 Chris Stampolis, Romic, 408/390-4748

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 06/06/2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is responding to a hazardous materials release that occurred Monday night at the Romic facility located at 2081 Bay Rd. in E. Palo Alto, Calif.

photo of chemical release impact area at Romic facility Approximately 4,000 gallons of used mixed solvents began reacting inside a tanker around 9:00p.m. The chemical mixture was released in the form of an aerosol/fine mist that settled over an area of approximately 2 acres, including an adjoining empty lot, Bay Road, a PG&E substation, and a wetlands area, south of Cooley Landing. The East Palo Alto Police Department issued a shelter in place around 10:45p.m. It was lifted about an hour later after the problem was contained and there was no longer a threat to the surrounding community.

“Romic is being responsive, and is currently addressing the cleanup of Bay Road,” said, Janet Yocum, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator. “The company is working with the EPA and the county to address the remaining impacted areas to ensure that the community is protected and the cleanup is complete.”

The contents of the 4,000 gallon tanker consisted of several different used solvents blended by Romic on-site. According to the manifests, the blended wastestreams consisted of hydroxylamine, monoethanolamine, toluene and acetonitrile.

EPA contractors are collecting samples of the deposited material for off-site analysis and characterization. Romic and EPA contractors continue to monitor the air. The impact to the wetland area is thought to be minimal. Department of Fish & Game and county officials have been notified, and will assist with a wetlands impact evaluation to determine any need for wetlands cleanup.

The San Mateo County Environmental Health and County Hazardous Materials Team, the East Palo Alto Police Department, and County Office of Emergency Services all responded to the incident.