City of Martinez Statement on County Health Advisory
Press release from the City of Martinez:
MARTINEZ, CA – City Council and City of Martinez staff are actively monitoring 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, advising area residents not to consume any fruits or vegetables grown in soil exposed to substances released last November until soil testing is complete. and that the results have been received and evaluated. To avoid potential problems, county health officials have recommended that local gardeners replace the top 12 inches of exposed soil before growing plants for consumption.
“The City of Martinez is supporting Contra Costa Health in the response to and investigation of this event,” said Martinez Mayor Brianne Zorn. “While we recognize that the county’s recommendation not to consume items grown in our own backyards is out of an abundance of caution, we are taking steps that can help defend the health of our residents.”
“We know how frustrated our community is with this incident and its impacts. I have personally communicated our concerns to the County, as well as to the MRC leadership team,” she said. The MRC informed the City that a complaints line has been established to address the concerns of those affected by the release last November (800-542-7113). For residents replacing flooring as directed by CC Health, the City recommends retaining documentation of all expenses to submit with their application.
City actions: continuous communication and distribution of compost
The City will continue to keep the community informed of the actions of the MRC by hosting community meetings as needed, sending out frequent community-wide email updates, and providing updates at all Council meetings. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the City’s electronic newsletter here. In addition, the Town of Martinez sits on the county’s MRC Oversight Committee, along with six Martinez residents, who will oversee the work of independent experts to conduct soil sampling and community risk assessment. The City is posting information about the incident and any updates on its website here.
The Town urges the MRC to increase its communications and relationships with Town and County residents. “Our top priority is to work with CC Health and MRC to ensure residents are better informed as the investigation into the incident continues,” the mayor said.
Additionally, the city is working with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office to expand the use of the “Community Alert System” countywide in the coming weeks. The goal is to provide notifications to a wider community, including via SMS, when lower-level incidents occur that could impact community safety. Community members are encouraged to register now to begin receiving more notifications from the City as soon as the program goes live. Visit http://cwsalerts.com/registration to register.
The Town of Martinez is partnering with Republic Services to host a free compost giveaway on Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Martinez Marina. The city confirmed that the compost is regularly sampled for contaminants according to 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 registrations to allow for additional registrations. Anyone with a Martinez 94553 address is eligible to participate. Registrants must bring identification, a shovel, containers, gloves and wear closed shoes. For more details and to register, go here.
This press release was produced by the City of Martinez. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.