San Jose Mercury News: Shell refinery still dealing with cleanup: “The Shell Martinez Refinery continues to grapple with the fallout from a November oil leak that sprayed hundreds of cars and homes, with cleanup costs likely to run into the millions and investigations by several other agencies under way.”: “More than 2,300 cars and 400 homes have been cleaned, said Steve Lesher, Shell's public affairs manager.”: Wednesday 21 December 2005
By Danielle Samaniego
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
MARTINEZ - The Shell Martinez Refinery continues to grapple with the fallout from a November oil leak that sprayed hundreds of cars and homes, with cleanup costs likely to run into the millions and investigations by several other agencies under way.
A mist of "oil slurry" blanketed several downtown neighborhoods Nov. 8 after leaking from a catalytic cracking unit. An estimated 150 gallons of oil sprayed over the refinery fence and into surrounding neighborhoods.
More than 2,300 cars and 400 homes have been cleaned, said Steve Lesher, Shell's public affairs manager. About 3,000 people filed complaints involving more than 5,000 cars and 600 homes, from as far as 3 miles from the refinery.
"Obviously it's not a situation that we're happy about," Lesher said. "We continue to regret it, we're very sorry that it happened, but what we're focused on now is doing right by folks and making sure we get things cleaned up to the best of our ability."
While Shell has taken steps to clean up the mess, several other agencies have looked into the incident.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District began an investigation after receiving several complaints and has issued a notice of violation for public nuisance. District staff also took swipe samples from several vehicles and tested for health impacts. Results showed low concentrations of toxic compounds and no health effects, but the investigation is continuing.
For its part, Shell hired local environmental company Entrix Inc. to assess the situation. Though that investigation is ongoing, Shell does not anticipate any health impacts, though it is willing to pay for any medical costs of anyone affected.
Lesher said to his knowledge, no one has submitted medical bills so far.
The company also has consulted with agencies such as county health services and the state Department of Fish and Game to make sure cleanup contractors are using the best practices, Lesher said.
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