Engineering News

Rhodia Begins Peyton Slough Restoration and Monitoring
Tuesday July 18, 7:17 pm ET

MARTINEZ, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 18, 2006--After two years of heavy construction, a new phase of environmental restoration and monitoring has begun at the landmark Peyton Slough remediation and re-alignment project in Martinez.

Project leaders from Rhodia Inc. today outlined details of the planned environmental monitoring and remaining restoration work for representatives of government agencies and community leaders who also toured the construction site. Construction activities had little impact on marine and wildlife in the marshland.

The Peyton Slough drains a marsh system and watershed surrounded by refineries, industrial terminals and a Rhodia manufacturing plant. Two years of construction at the site have resulted in re-aligning the Slough to the east, and capping old slough sediments containing copper and zinc to prevent them from impacting water qualify and aquatic life in the Carquinez Straits that drains to San Francisco Bay.

As a result of the slough re-alignment, one of the Bay Area's longstanding toxic "hot spots" from a bygone industrial era was eliminated.

The new environmental monitoring phase includes a 10-year program to inspect and gather field data about wetland re-vegetation, animal habitats, marine life, tidal flows and other environmental priorities targeted by the overall Peyton Slough restoration plan. Water quality data will also be gathered.

The restoration plan has been the subject of years of regulatory proceedings and facilitated dialogue led by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Water Board led discussions among scores of government agencies, interested organizations, individuals, and Rhodia Inc., a specialty chemical producer.

Rhodia operates a sulfuric acid regeneration plant adjacent to the Peyton Slough. The present-day Rhodia operations are unrelated to the historic industrial activities conducted by other parties at the site, which contributed to the old slough's copper and zinc content.

"Rhodia has made a significant investment in restoring and improving the sensitive marshland environment adjacent to our plant," said James Harton, president of Rhodia Inc. and its Eco Service enterprise which operates the plant.

"Through the years of regulatory and permitting processes, and more than two years of construction, this day sometimes appeared really distant, almost as if we would never reach the goal. Along the way, we were encouraged at many points by the shared resolve and practical approach taken by the Water Board."

The other participating agencies included the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the California State Lands Commission, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other local, regional and statewide agencies.

Harton continued, "The technical issues alone were daunting and could not have been resolved without the Water Board's leadership. When you consider the scheduling issues, nearby infrastructure, and the intricacies of nature's life cycles, it's truly amazing that so much could be accomplished.

"In the end, this project's success is a tribute to diverse interests working together toward a common environmental goal that Rhodia shares. The nearby ecosystem is better off today because of it, and will be still better off as it flourishes over the next decade."

Pete Jurichko, Rhodia's Martinez plant manager, observed, "The success of the Peyton Slough project also proves that a sensitive ecosystem can be preserved, protected and enhanced in the midst of a major petrochemical industrial complex."

Rhodia is a global specialty chemicals company recognized for its strong technology positions in Performance Materials, Functional Chemicals and the Organics and Services clusters. Partnering with major players in the refining, automotive, electronics, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, consumer care, tires, and paints and coatings markets, Rhodia offers tailor-made solutions combining original molecules and technologies to respond to customers' needs. Rhodia subscribes to the principles of Sustainable Development communicating its commitments and performance openly with stakeholders. Rhodia generated sales of 5 billion euros in 2005 and employs 20,000 people worldwide. Rhodia is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges.

Source: Rhodia Inc.

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