Environmental group offers “toxic tour” of city

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Communities for a Better Environment sponsored a Toxic Tour of Richmond on March 23, 2013. Click on the icons for photos and information.

In late March 2013, a group of about 25 attended a “Toxic Tour” of Richmond led by Communities for a Better Environment organizer Andres Soto. The trip offered an overview of Richmond’s industrial waste, environmental disasters and cultural history.

Highlights of the tour included a stop at the Wildcat Marsh & Landfill Loop Trail—a part of the San Francisco Bay Trail that runs along Richmond’s wastewater treatment facility and what’s known as “Garbage Mountain”—and historical gems like Minnie Lou’s, a blues club that thrived in North Richmond until the early 1980s.

Attendees included both environmental activists and longtime residents, several of whom expressed surprise at the day’s information. “These are things I didn’t know,” said Sylvia Gray-White, a Richmond resident for the past 50 years. “I’m really grateful for this experience. I’ve never been on a tour to this degree.”

Even though Richmond’s industries have left a legacy of pollution, community activism around these issues has always been strong. “There’s a deep passion to change the paradigm,” Soto told the group. “You’re part of the resiliency.”

CBE plans to hold a few more such tours in Richmond this year.


  1. Andres Soto

    Thank you Sara for showing up and covering the tour. I hope other people join us the next time.

  2. I havent seen any stories on that shoody company running that treatment plant. Cant believe all of those numerous past problems were solved.

  3. michael spexarth

    The important thing to remember is that these companies destroyed the land for their shareholders profit. There was no benefit to our generation, only waste, only cleanup. The companies declared bankruptcy to avoid responsibility. Look around Richmond, always with suspicious eyes….what company is next? Chevron? The railroads? The metal scrapyards? P.G.E? Who is processing amonia? Paint? Chromium? New Biology? Sure, its jobs-business, but lets know the risk, no more surprises.

    • exactlly well said. additionally, if a cash strapped city feels it has to outsource, then it should be made to contract with an American owned company instead of a company like BP or veolia, who has littlle or no regard for our environment. and who only concern is their bottom line.

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