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Castro Cove is an embayment of the San Pablo Bay[1] in Richmond, California between Point San Pablo and the confluence of Wildcat Creek into Castro Creek.[2]

Contents

Overview

The cove is made up of mudflats, bay mud, and intertidal salt marsh owned by Chevron USA. The cove forms an important estuarine environmental resource for San Francisco Bay.[2] It is the home of many endangered species including the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, Clapper Rail, Steelhead, and Olympia Oyster.[1] Other benthic invertebrates, mammals, fish, and birds also live in the habitat; all the animals may have been injured by the contamination whether endangered of least concern.[1]

Pollution

The cove is also a recreational, fishing, boating, and shellfishing area.[2] The Richmond Rod & Gun Club Yacht Harbor is located on the western coast of the cove. The Chevron Richmond Refinery located at the south end of the inlet dumps 5.6 millions (21,938 liters) of gallons of treated industrial use waters into the Cove, Castro Creek and San Pablo Bay daily.[2] From 1902 until 1987 the refinery released various contaminants from its water usage and other run-offs which terribly contaminated the Bay muds of the cove.[1]In 1998 the California Regional Water Quality Control Board began to catalyst cleanup of the site and pressured Chevron. The water board used the authority of the Bay Protection and Toxic Clean-up Program to have Chevron make a sediment characterization work plan in 1998.[1] Years of discharge or polluted water left the cove with high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and mercury contamination.[1]

Cleanup

Between 1999 and 2001 benthic toxicity tests found PAHs and mercury levels at up to 507 mg/kg and 13 mg/kg respectively at this site and a 20-acre (81,000 m2) portion was designated as an area of concern (AOC).[1] The worst contaminated, AOC is adjacent to the former wastewater outfall which has now been relocated into San Pablo Bay.[1] A California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)-mandated mitigated negative declaration was completed and a corrective action plan has been designed.[1] The plan which comes with a natural resource damage assessment will quarten off the AOC with a steel sheet pile and have the contaminated muds and sediment dredged and pumped into a disused treatment pond.[1] In that treatment pond the toxic waste will be dried and then neutralized with a stabilizing agent like fly ash or cement.[1] The inactive pond will at that time be regraded and capped with vegetation.[1] The resportation project is scheduled for the summer of 2007.[1] Castro Cove is named after Don Víctor Castro.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Castro Cove/Chevron Richmond, CA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), retrieved August 1, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d Monitoring Program Summary, California Coastal Water Quality Monitoring Inventory, retrieved August 31, 2007

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