City considers phasing out hazardous-materials plant | February 26, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 26, 2010

City considers phasing out hazardous-materials plant

Consultant to look for ways to 'amortize' CPI plating plant bordering the Barron Park residential neighborhood

by Sue Dremann

The City of Palo Alto is studying ways to remove or relocate a hazardous-chemicals facility that has long plagued Barron Park residents.

This story contains 853 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


Posted by Bill, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

If this company is having repeated dangerous toxic waste spills, then the penalties are not heavy enough. Jack up the fine from $20K to $200K and then they will think twice about their iffy safety protocols. The penalties have to be proportionate to the risk and danger to the community. $20K is a slap on the wrist.

Posted by Bill Kelly, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

This company should never have been allowed to create a metal plating shop on the second floor of their facility, 60 feet from property lines. They use Nitric Acid, Cyanide, and over 30 other chemicals in open vats in their 2nd story plant abutting Barron Park. I am happy Palo Alto is working to fix this problem, my only concern is 20 years is TOO long. I'd rather see a 1 year rezoning process.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Where are we going to move all our grocery and hardware stores? How about pools?
Perhaps the houses need to be declared non complying.
Somewhere in China a village is ready to welcome another factory.

Posted by Ken, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

"CPI manufactures microwave devices for radar, satellites and electron accelerators and says the plant is a key part of its work."

As long we Palo Altans are willing to give up using the products of such toxic chemicals, it should be fair to shut the thing down. We should also give up using rubber tires and computers and various pharmaceuticsls. Of course, we should also stop using automobiles and bicycles and and mass transportation...and almost everything else.

This seems like an obvious question, but why is Palo Alto so special? If we are going to use the products of chemicals, why should we be driving the waste products towards someone else?

Posted by Marco, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

No one says they have to leave Palo Alto (though they closed their facility in an industrial area in San Carlos in 2004 and brought all their hazardous material here - a stupid decision by their management), just pony up and pay to move it away from residences. In fact, CPI can setup their shop in Palo Alto's Industrial zone - there's another plating shop there already. The idea is to keep the cyanide and acids and other hazardous materials away from homes and schools and folks who shouldn't be forced to inhale toxic fumes in the event of an accident. Sometime China, too, will wake up to find out they need an intelligent hazardous material zoning policy. Hopefully not too many folks will die before that happens.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2010 at 11:14 am

You parachute NIMBYs will cut off your nose to spite your face. Varian and CPII have been at that location for 50 years, much longer than the majority of residents now complaining about their manufacturing. Without companies like them doing high tech work Palo Alto would still be full of orchards, you wouldn't all be highly paid knowledge workers, and you'd probably be choking on diesel fumes every day instead.

But by all means, keep buying cheap residential real estate next to the biggest hazard you can find, then whine and whine until everything useful is shut down and you destroy your own economy. It's been working great in rest of the state so far.

Posted by Our own Rush, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I get a kick out of Walter Wallis consistently pro corporate messages. He's our very own RushLimbaugh.
What's so amusing is that if HE lived near a toxic site, he would bring out his engineering jibber jabber to show how insufficient the control of the toxics.

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