February 16, 2013

It’s Search Engine Saturday!

And we haven’t had a Search Engine Saturday for many, many Saturdays!

Recently someone used a Search Engine and found his or her way over to Burbed by entering the following search:

what kind of toxic dump is whisman station on

What kind indeed?  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can certainly tell you all about it. But who wants to read a bunch of boring government reports?  That’s why there’s Burbed!  We’re happy to pass along any news about what kind of toxic dump your neighborhood is sitting on as well.  (Pro tip: Most Bay Area neighborhoods are infested with Bubbling Exuberance.)

Here’s our article that answers the above question, and the kind of toxic dump Whisman Station sits on is very nasty indeed.  Specifically, it’s a Tricoroethylene (TCE) plume.

Moreover, according to this article shared by Burbed reader Real Estater, this delightful area of opportunity is expanding into new territory!  Now who says they aren’t making any more land?

This is also your Three Day Weekend Open Thread!  W00t!

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

October 31, 2011

A Scary Neighborhood for Trick or Treating!

Happy Halloween!

Burbed reader Moxie Girl has a suggestion for you on where to look for Halloween Treats.  Or Tricks.  Or lots and lots of instant equity.  So please give Moxie Girl a big, warm Real Bay Area welcome for this Guest Column on a great new neighborhood for you to check out tonight!

imageI’ve been reading your blog for awhile, and find it horrifyingly (and refreshingly) informative. I currently rent in RBA Mountain View, also known as the 900-sq.-foot-house-on-the-weensiest lot-available-asking-price-$1M capital of California.

Anywhoo, I was tootling along minding my own business, and as I cast my keen eye over Redfin this morning, found this (see attachment) in Redwood City. Let me backtrack first and say that Redfin has been updating the mini neighborhoods in cities for those of us not in the know (Birdland Neighbors in Sunnyvale? Castro City in Mountain View? Sign me up!). And apparently Redwood City has a new neighborhood. Who knew?


image*Possible Contamination* is the new, hot, move-in mess you’ve been waiting for. Adjacent to Woodside Plaza and in sniffing distance of Alameda de las Pulgas (Street of the Fleas…perhaps this is linked to the contamination problem?), Possible Contamination is your dream destination: houses built in the 1960s with an asking price of $800K+, which are all basically tear downs just waiting to happen. Then you can spend another $500K building the house of your dreams while being hemmed in by average schools and weird neighbors. But hey, isn’t Redwood City’s motto “Climate Best by Government Test“?

I can only imagine that your other eagle-eyed Burbed readers will want to know and move to this neighborhood ASAP. Our own mini-me Chernobyl site! Does that make RWC a sister city to Alviso? Or would that be Three Mile Island?

p.s. This aberration is attributable only to Redfin’s site–if you check out RWC on Google maps, *Possible Contamination* is not there.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

August 2, 2010

Toxic-Waste Sites Haunt Silicon Valley

Toxic-Waste Sites Haunt Silicon Valley

The situation in East Palo Alto is a reminder that even as Silicon Valley positions itself as an eco-friendly clean-technology center, the tech industry’s underbelly continues to scar the region. Many toxic sites in the region are a byproduct of local operations like semiconductor manufacturing that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s, says Jim Blamey, hazardous materials program manager for the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health.

While semiconductor manufacturing has since largely moved offshore, "the legacy is still here," says Mr. Blamey.

Overall, Santa Clara County has 23 National Priority List sites—the sites eligible for financing from the Superfund, a federal cleanup program for abandoned toxic sites—the most in the nation ahead of Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, which has 17 such sites, according to the EPA. Alameda County has three such sites. And while San Mateo County has no National Priority List sites, it has 21 Brownfield sites, which the EPA has identified as possibly being "complicated" by contamination. That includes the area around Romic.

All of this is costly for local companies. Chip giant Intel Corp. has paid a "substantial" amount of money over the years to clean up toxic waste left over in part from its past manufacturing operations in Silicon Valley, says a spokesman. Similarly, Applied Materials Inc. has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for local cleanups in recent years, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. paid approximately $2.7 million between 2004 and 2009 for cleanup activities of three groundwater contamination sites in Sunnyvale, according to the EPA and the companies

The 12.6-acre parcel where Romic’s plant stood was used for recycling toxic waste as early as 1956, according to documents from state environmental agencies. Romic began officially operating in 1964, processing materials from clients like Hewlett-Packard Co. The EPA’s Mr. Leach says Romic pumped waste directly into the ground—which was legal at the time—until the 1970s, when the regional water-quality board intervened.

According to documents from California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, Romic was cited 53 times between 1999 and 2004 for violations including storing waste in unauthorized areas. In 2005, the company settled with the state over the violations for $849,500, while admitting no wrongdoing.

A year later, a leak at Romic’s facility led to the release of a visible cloud over the area. DTSC investigators later found the cause was 4,000 gallons of used solvent that was improperly mixed in a tanker truck. Romic settled with San Mateo County over the incident for $350,000 but admitted no wrongdoing, according to the DTSC.

All of this may sound negative, but really – it just adds to the specialness of Silicon Valley. It’s got “character” … heck, maybe even “flavor”!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:25 am