2017-05-19 / Letters

A call for residents to make their voices heard

As the Acorn has previously reported, the City of Camarillo, without public disclosure, has planned to move forward with a desalinization project immediately next to the homes of County Lane and Pleasant Valley Hospital.

Part of the plans call for the building of a large industrial complex on what was previously agricultural land. Because it’s being used for “public use,” the City of Camarillo can skate around SOAR restrictions.

Part of the plans call for a 13,000-gallon tank of sulfuric acid and a 5,900-gallon tank of sodium hypochlorite. Sulfuric acid may seem potentially dangerous enough but is relatively safe in comparison to a potentially life-threatening reaction that may ensue. If there is an accidental spill mixing the sulfuric acid and sodium hypochlorite together, they will produce chlorine gas. This is an unacceptable risk.

Just such an accident happened as recently as October 21, 2016, in Atchison, Kan., resulting in more than 100 people being sent to the hospital, some in critical condition after being exposed to a noxious cloud of chlorine gas.

An article published in Environmental Health News dated October 20, 2011, cites a federal database showing chlorine as second only to carbon monoxide when it comes to the percentage of accidents that cause injuries.

If such an accident were to happen next to our hospital, where would the people of Camarillo go to be treated if Pleasant Valley Hospital had to be evacuated? How long would it take to evacuate the hospital itself? If there was any substantial delay (and, of course, there would be as bedridden patients cannot be moved quickly) serious injury or death may ensue.

This, of course, would require the mobilization of the entire Ventura County EMS system as well as possible state assistance. Patients would have to be transferred to all of the other county hospitals as well as possible neighboring county hospitals to accommodate an influx of patients.

Where would the people living in the Alma Via nursing home be evacuated to? Where would the people of Country Lane as well as the people living in Vista Camarillo be evacuated to?

The people of Camarillo have on multiple occasions requested alternative sites to be evaluated by the City of Camarillo, but thus far we have only been met with delay. We, the people of County Lane, fully support the desalinization plant as a means of a long-term water supply, just not in our backyard. We also realize, however, that the City of Camarillo is on a deadline, and many feel that Assistant City Manager Tom Fox may just be delaying as a means to leave us no other site location as an option.

We ask the citizens of Camarillo to support our efforts, and attend the City Council meeting and make public comments at 7:15 p.m. Wed., May 24 or write an email to Mayor Jan McDonald at council@cityofcamarillo.org.

Gavin Jones

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