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Asunto:[LEA-Venezuela] Continua rodando la noticia de descarga de amargos en San Francisco (California)
Fecha:Martes, 14 de Junio, 2005  06:40:43 (-0400)
Autor:Jorge Hinestroza M. <vitae @......com>

Continua rodando la noticia de descarga de amargos de la empresa Cargill en
San Francisco (California), la misma que en Venezuela está asociada con
PEQUIVEN. S.A. en la empresa PRODUSAL C.A. en la Ciénaga de Los Olivitos,
municipio Miranda del Estado Zulia, donde los pescadores han impedido hasta
ahora la descarga abierta de amargos en el Lago de Maracaibo aprobada por el
ministerio del ambiente.

Esta vez  la propia Comisión de Control de calidad del agua de la region
Bahía de San Francisco (CA) emitió la noticia en su Informe Ejecutivo de los
funcionarios oficiales perteneciente a Junio de 2005, donde oficializa la
información sobre derrame de amargos en Newark, sitio donde Cargill tiene
instlalaciones de producción salinera.
A continuación la parte del informe (en inglés) relacionada con el desarrame
de amargos.

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California Regional Water Quality Control Board

San Francisco Bay Region

EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT
A Monthly Report to the Board and Public
June 2005

The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is June 15, 2005.

See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/sanfranciscobay/ for latest details and
agenda



Cargill Spills Toxic Brine In Newark (Keith Lichten)
On  June 1, Cargill accidentally discharged approximately 17,560 gallons of
bittern--concentrated toxic brine--from a rail car at its Newark bittern
loading facility. The facility is located on a rail line by the marshes near
Newark Slough. Approximately 6,000 gallons of bittern were captured in
containment under the rail car. The remainder overflowed and discharged
across a dirt access road into an adjacent marsh, and then into Newark
Slough.

The marsh provides habitat for the federally endangered salt marsh harvest
mouse. Additionally, the Bay outside the marsh is fished for shrimp. Bittern
spills can be as dangerous as oil spills, because the material is toxic to
aquatic life. It is also denser than water. As a result, it sinks and moves
along the bottom of marsh channels and the Bay, with the potential to
significantly impact bottom-dwelling life.

Staff inspected the spill site on June 2 and 6. On June 2, two tidal cycles
had passed in the marsh since the spill. With the exception of a small marsh
area adjacent to the loading facility, it appeared that most of the bittern
had discharged through the marsh channels and out to Newark Slough. Cargill
continued to visually inspect and take water samples in the marsh and marsh
channels where the spill occurred through June 6, but did not detect
bittern, and staff concurred on June 6 that most of that monitoring could be
stopped.

Based on the inspection and discussions with Cargill, it appears that the
spill was a combination of human error and inadequate facility design. The
spill occurred when the bottom valve was opened on a tank car to check it
for salt solids and rinse it prior to reloading it with bittern. The car had
been returned to Cargill full of bittern, but had been marked empty. The
bittern discharged from the tank car, likely over a period of about fifteen
minutes. The employee completing the cleaning and loading was apparently
otherwise occupied during this time. The facility, which loads up to three
tank cars at a time, did not include containment adequate to capture the
discharged volume from the one car.

Cargill has revised its loading protocol to include an initial visual
inspection of tank car interiors prior to cleaning. This should prevent
future similar spills.

This is not Cargill's only recent bittern spill. In September 2002, Cargill
accidentally spilled 36,900 gallons of bittern in the same area, following a
pipe failure. At that time, several commercial fishermen in the South Bay
reported reduced shrimp catches that persisted for months. Investigation of
that case is still open, and will be considered as we further investigate
this recent spill.

Cargill is due to submit a detailed spill report later this week. I will
report back to you as staff continues its follow up on the spill,
appropriate remedial and mitigation measures, and consideration of
enforcement.



 



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