Thursday, November 7, 2013

Many Oroville residents aren’t even aware of the legacy of dioxin contamination in their area. “I didn’t even know about this issue until two months ago, and I’ve lived in this community for 30 years,” says Marlene Del Rosario, an Oroville resident. This issue is a timely one, as Oroville looks to implement greening and sustainability measures. BEC feels strongly that these efforts should include an analysis of current dioxin levels in areas of known contamination, and is working with community groups to educate residents on the issue. The billboards going up around Oroville this week are the first part of an education and outreach campaign to inform area residence of the toxicity of dioxin, and its continued presence in areas of South Oroville. 
WHO: Funded by two small Patagonia and Clif Foundation grants, the Butte Environmental Council offered a series of Public Forums to the Oroville community about dioxin contamination in Oroville. The community responded that more education and outreach on the issue was needed. So, local BEC members and staff joined with others in the community to form the Oroville Dioxin Education Committee (ODEC), with the stated goal to “educate and prepare community members, to raise awareness, and to lead the effort to safeguard our community against dioxin.” 
WHERE/HOW: Dioxin in Oroville became a major concern in 1987 with the Koppers fire—the second major fire on the site, with the 1963 fire being the first. Burning chemicals from the wood treatment facility resulted in a large release of dioxin into the air and onto the surrounding soil. More recently, the Covanta-owned Pacific Oroville Power, Inc. biomass incinerator was found to have released significant amounts of dioxin via waste ash piles in Butte and neighboring counties. Now closed for over a year, the company is currently negotiating an out-of-court settlement for dioxin and heavy metals contamination in several counties. The action is being led by Butte County’s District Attorney.Read more:

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