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California Dept of Fish and Game, U.S. EPA team up with cities to train volunteers for beach cleanup in oil impacted areas, 1,300 volunteers trained to date

Release Date: 11/16/2007
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

(11/16/07) SAN FRANCISCO -- The Unified Command for the Cosco Busan oil spill continues response efforts as the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response assisted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency personnel offer health and safety training for pre-registered volunteers looking to assist with oiled debris cleanup on beaches around the Bay Area.

Volunteers receive four-hour hazardous waste operations training, including use of protective clothing, properties and hazards of oil, and hazards of shoreline work. The Fish and Game spill prevention office provided training materials, and trained city and county employees as future trainers. Volunteers are certified as State Disaster Service Workers for the duration of the Cosco Busan incident.

“During oil spill events we typically see large numbers of volunteers to help save wildlife, but it is unprecedented to have so many volunteering to help clean oiled debris from beaches,” said Steve Calanog, emergency response chief for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “The EPA has assisted at oil spills all over the country and we rarely see this level of participation from the general public to help clean up their shorelines.”

Field supervisors from Berkeley, San Francisco and San Mateo County have also been trained, along with approximately 1,300 volunteers to date. Supervisors oversee volunteer contingents in cleanup activities. Response division supervisors will coordinate volunteers and city supervisors to assist cleanup crews. Ship owner Regal Stone Inc. is providing Tyvek coveralls, gloves, shoe protection, bags, and disposal containers for the cleanups.

“From the moment these volunteers arrived at training, their interest and concern for the environment is clearly evident in their enthusiasm for the cause,” said Yvonne Adassi branch director for the California Department of Fish and Game. “All the agencies have cooperated to make this training available and utilize the great resource of volunteers we have here in the Bay Area.”

The public is still urged to avoid areas and wildlife that are affected, as untrained people can cause further damage to the environment and stress on the wildlife. Allowing your dogs to run on impacted beaches will create an even greater stress for injured wildlife. Concerned citizens should call (415) 701-2311 to report any sightings of oiled wildlife. Please note this is a new number, and the number used previously is no longer in service.

Members of the public without proper training should not attempt to collect the oil, since it needs to be disposed of properly to prevent broader contamination and re-introduction to the environment. In addition, exposure to the oil can be hazardous for your health.

Volunteers can register for beach cleanup and training at www.sfconnect.org and www.californiavolunteers.org. Trainings are currently scheduled in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Upcoming local volunteer health and safety training
http://www.sfgov.org/site/sf311_index.asp?id=70813
Half Moon Bay: two trainings offered on:
Saturday, November 17
Train Depot, 110 Higgins Canyon Rd.
8:00 a.m. - to 12:00 p.m.
and again at
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
For more information in San Mateo County Call (650) 726-8288 or visit: http://www.smcalert.info

San Francisco two trainings offered on:
Saturday, November 17
County Fair Building, Hall of Flowers
Lincoln Way & 9th Ave. (entrance to Golden Gate Park)
8:00 a.m. - to 12:00 p.m.
and again at
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
For more information, visit: http://www.sfconnect.org

Berkeley
Saturday, November 17
West Berkeley Senior, Center at 1900 Sixth St.
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
For additional information in Berkeley visit: http://www.cityofberkeley.info

The organizations listed above are a few of the many volunteer opportunities available. This listing is provided for informational purposes and EPA is not endorsing any particular organization.

For video of the efforts, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/video/sfoil-spill/index.html

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