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New study: Bay Area hazardous sites at risk from rising seas

By Ezra David Romero, Teodros Hailye, KQED, July 5, 2022

“More than 900 hazardous sites — power plants, sewage treatment plants, refineries, cleanup areas, and other facilities — across California could be inundated with ocean water and groundwater by the end of the century, according to climate scientists at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

“The research highlights the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and a cluster of other hazardous sites in the San Francisco neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point. And dozens of power plants, refineries, landfills and other industrial sites line communities like East Palo Alto, Richmond, Oakland, and San Jose.

“The scientists’ findings showcase significant risk. But they note that understanding the effect of sea level rise and groundwater encroachment on each hazardous facility will take site-specific data.

“The Toxic Tides team provided KQED with the map’s data layers, which feature the high-risk aversion scenario for sea level rise as described in the latest state guidance [2018].

“The authors say ‘a lack of groundwater data coupled with imprecise estimates of facility boundaries may lead to potential underestimates of the number of at-risk facilities.’

“The findings do not include an exhaustive list of all potentially contaminated sites… . Find more information on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer or the San Francisco Baykeeper Sea Level Rise and Pollution Risk to the Bay website.”

Read the full article here, including KQED’s map of the Bay Area’s at-risk hazardous sites. (~3 min.)

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