Don’t shred on me
Last week, experts cut to pieces the city of West Sacramento’s environmental review of a proposed auto-shredder facility. They argue that the operation, which would recycle autos and other scrap metal, could significantly expose nearby communities, including downtown Sacramento, to airborne toxic particles from heavy metals.
As part of written comments submitted to the West Sacramento Planning Commission on August 19, external analysts also described the city’s environmental assessment as “inadequate” and “suspect.”
Regarding toxic emissions, Douglas Wolf, a senior project engineer with consulting firm TRC, stressed caution. “The proposed metal-shredder recycling facility may have significant impact on air quality,” he said.
Biologists also expressed concerns about the project’s impact on wildlife, particularly nearby wetlands.
Analysts also state that West Sacramento’s environmental review of the project failed to address such issues as noise pollution, fire hazards, traffic flow and landfill selection.
The West Coast Recycling Group, owner of the planned facility, has proposed trucking excess waste, known as “fluff,” to a landfill in Woodland. But that landfill, however, currently is not allowed to store hazardous waste.
On behalf of a West Sacramento citizen’s group, the law firm Morgan Miller Blair also conducted a review of the project and concluded that “The [environmental assessment] is woefully deficient in numerous respects.”
On the plus side for the city and West Coast Recycling, the state’s Office of Historic Preservation did conclude that the site has no historic significance.
West Sacramento views the auto shredder as a key part of plans to revive the city’s struggling port. The facility would be only the third auto shredder in Northern California (see “Heavy metal,” SN&R Frontlines, August 5).
Despite the report, the city and West Coast Recycling will press forward. “We are still pursuing the project,” said Dave Tilley, a senior planner for West Sacramento. “We are going to do further analyses and bring it back to the planning commission at an undetermined date in the future.” (Hugh Biggar)Thirst aid
Dehydration and overheating are problems for Sacramento’s homeless. Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit organization that provides various services for locals in need, is addressing the issue with a new program: Hydrate Humanity.
Program coordinator Jade Baranski says Loaves & Fishes often runs out of bottled water and that the group is looking for healthier and environmentally friendly solutions to dehydration.
Their goal is to provide homeless with safe, reusable bottles that they can fill at Loaves & Fishes or other areas around town. One of the plans is to create a “local water map” with refill locations marked on it.