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SC County critical of CPI's risk-management plan

Original post made on Mar 7, 2008

A plume of nitric acid spread over Barron Park in Palo Alto on Feb. 2, 2006, because of an accident at the nearby CPI company. The accident triggered concerns of neighborhood residents, the city and Santa Clara County.

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Comments (2)

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Posted by art
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm

A good story, but there is some background missing.
CPI's plating shop, with thousands of pounds of cyanide and nitric acid in large tanks, is just within 100 feet of residental properties on Chimalus Drive in Barron Park, and their chemical storage shed is even closer. As happened in Feb 2006, toxic fumes from an accidental release of these chemicals would inevitably drift across the fence and affect residents.
Yet in 2007 CPI sent a Risk Management Plan to the County with the unbelievable (and now shown incorrect!) and incredible conclusion that toxic fumes from the worse case accident - much worse than the accident in 2006 - would not affect anyone beyond the site boundary! Thanks to the County for seeing through this sham, and shame on CPI and their consultant for their blatant attempt at trying to paint an incorrect picture of the risks of their toxic chemical operation.
Another point not mentioned in the story. The County found two serious deficiencies of the Palo Alto Fire Code at CPI. And this is after multiple inspections by the Fire Department during CPI's plating shop reconstruction in 2005 and during their investigation of the toxic nitric acid fume release accident in 2006! Both of these violations would allow toxic fumes released in a serious accident in the plating shop to spread directly towards residents! 1) CPI has 'scrubbers' which normally remove the toxic fumes from the plating shop before they are vented to the atmosphere, but no back up power system for these scrubbers in the event of a disaster and a power outage. This is a violation. 2) CPI also has an emergency vent fan in the plating shop to evacuate the room directly to the atmosphere(and to residents homes), bypassing the scrubber, in case of a serious accident. This is also a violation.
Because of the amounts of hazardous chemicals and proximity to residents, CPI presents the greatest risk to residents of any facility in Palo Alto. The residents are grateful of having the County as a separate watchdog of CPI's operation and the Fire Department oversight.
For more detailed information on this issue and other related matters, check the website

Like this comment
Posted by FIERMAN
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2008 at 9:47 am



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