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CPI Settlement with City is criminal

Original post made by Bill Kelly, Barron Park, on Jan 22, 2007

On Friday CPI Industries settled with the city for releasing toxic gases into Barron Park. The settlement calls for no admission of guilt and a $20,000 fine. CPI's own investigation concluded it was employee error; however, the PA fire department changed the finding to 'inconclusive'.

CPI stores 600 pounds of deadly potassium Cyanide and 4000 pounds of Nitric Acid on their property line next to Barron Park residents. Inhaling 10 milligrams of Potassium Cyanide will cause a person to pass out within 60 seconds of exposure and, if untreated, will be dead in 20 minutes. This stuff is seriously dangerous.

In documents submitted to the county toxics board, CPI says in a worst case scenerio, they will release 13 pounds of potassium cyanide to the neighborhood; and residents living within 1000 feet of the chemical storage areas will be incapacitated or possibly die.

The Palo Alto fire chief and city attorney concluded that better community notification are the solution to future issues. With a 10 mile per hour breeze, that gives the closest residents 7 seconds to evacuate, and 68 seconds to the residents 1000 feet away (this includes a pre-school).

How in the world will better notification help this problem?

Comments (14)

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Posted by Jim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 22, 2007 at 4:42 pm

First, you need to attach a web site on where you got your info. I give very little merit to your "numbers" unless you can back them up. Also, the Fire Chief and City Attorney said better notification is a start in the right direction, not a solution. This is the second post you have done with miss quotes and facts on this subject.

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Posted by Bill Kelly
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 22, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Actually Jim this was my first post. You can see the info at The numbers come from CPI's submission using the county's Risk Management Plan readable in the county offices in Santa Clara. You can find the toxicity on NOSH or the EPA's web site, and finally the math is a toxic chemical traveling 10 MPH over a distance of 50 feet to 1000 feet which is how far we residents are from CPI's toxic storage facility.

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Posted by Jim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 22, 2007 at 7:50 pm

Bill, Thanks for the web site. Your right, it was another person who posted a forum (on Jan 3) about the this company.

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Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 23, 2007 at 8:13 am

Last night all interested residents could follow the fascinating Council hearing on KZSU (90.1 FM)on an application to expand the use of chemicals at CPI, which I picked up by chance on the way home from SF. I continued to watch the council on public television (?Ch 26) once home. The Chimalus homeowners and renters who spoke did so carefully and intelligently. I was convinced that the City should be working with CPI to get them to use newer technologies and stop using these deadly chemicals for the sake of the employees and the neighbors. What is unclear is whether this was a condition of the settlement with CPI.

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Posted by Bill Kelly
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2007 at 9:01 pm


It was a fascinating meeting. About 70 people from barron Park showed up to show their support for taking action against CPI. No conditions were placed on the settlement. In fact the council allowed a 10% expansion of CPI's toxic chemicals.

Like this comment
Posted by Another mother here
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 31, 2007 at 5:24 am

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWEEEEEEEEEEEEE..somehow I missed all this panic..Where abouts near Barron Park is this place exactly????????? Please post a little more info...been ill and not out of the house lately.....thanks

Like this comment
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 3, 2007 at 12:16 am

According to the participants CPI is about 1000 feet from Barron Park School and a stone's throw from houses which border the industrial park.

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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Is there any progress on this issue? Or did it end here?

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Posted by Active Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2007 at 10:11 pm

This issue hasn't ended, not by any means. There's an article in the March 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly (Web Link) that provides an update. There's also a new web site (Web Link) set up by Barron Park residents that will be used to track the situation.

Like this comment
Posted by AnotherResident
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm

The web site mentioned in the previous comment has been moved to Web Link (CPI Hazard Watch (dot) org).

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 17, 2007 at 9:04 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Abe Karenina
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2008 at 8:41 am

O Alice, you have Waay tooooooo muuuuch time on your hands! Get a job, f'crissake! Do something besides sitting there on your cute tush and fussing about all this PC nonsense. My Gawd, you have been spoiled rotten!!!! You can do better than this, with all that fancy education you got! Hmmm, maybe that is the problem!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2008 at 4:24 am

Why can't CPI leave?

Don't they know they are not wanted here.

We could use the land to build a decent non-boutique supermarket.

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Leave? The City let them open there Business there. Approved all there plans. Inspected there operation. Approved it. Took there MONEY, cashed the check.

They have the same right as any other THING in this CITY... The City GAVE THEM PERMISSION .. gave them the right to.

Lets not think this is related to any of the other issues going on. JUST TOO many to follow at one time.

Palo Alto Issue SURFING beats the tube. No one could write this stuff. No one would believe it? just the people living in Palo Alto.

Flags, Transport Engines , Fire Chief and City Attorney?? Conflict of interest Gary and Chief ?? what was that name given from the EAST Coast??

FEEL SAFE???? Maybe if you live in Woodside.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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