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April 27 Community Meeting Recap - PCE Contamination at Irving St and 26th & 27th Avenues

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

On April 27 we had a very successful Community Meeting to discuss the PCE Contamination at Irving St and 26th & 27th Avenues. One hundred neighbors gathered to learn from experts what PCE is, where it has been found in the immediate neighborhood, what the Department of Toxicology and Substance Control (DTSC) is and is not doing to protect the neighbors, and what actions the community should demand in order to ensure protection for current residents as well as future residents in the area. You can view the recording here:

  1. DTSC should “step out” its investigation of the path and extent of PCE, as the toxic gas is spreading. Already it has been found in the homes of six neighbors and recently in the subsoil of the large apartment building at 1300 26th Ave. Further investigation of the air in the apartments of the building will follow in the next few months. There is and will continue to be ongoing investigation of the homes and parking lot on the south side of Irving Street, between 26th and 27th Avenue. 2509 Irving is already on the Cortese List of Hazardous Waste Sites. Hazardous levels of PCE were previously identified at 2550 Irving St. and the developer, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, (TNDC) has signed an agreement with DTSC to install a “mitigation” system when construction begins. A mitigation system is a temporary plastic vapor barrier, placed under the foundation of the new building. Because PCE gas is still under 2550 Irving and is spreading to the neighbors’ houses to the north, we believe the best solution for everyone is to clean up the toxicity BEFORE construction begins. This protects the health of the future low-income residents of 2550 Irving as well as the current residents to the north who have been breathing toxic PCE for decades. Cleaning up toxins is called “remediation” and it is actually cheaper and far more effective than a mitigation system for protecting your health. Unfortunately, TNDC is choosing not to do this and prefers to potentially expose their residents to contamination, rather than advocate for remediation of the PCE gas.

  2. As the problem is extensive and needs continued investigation, we are asking that the entire site be reviewed and considered a single toxic area. Right now there are five separate investigations in the area around 26th and 27th Avenue and Irving Street. Nothing is coordinated. Please email DTSC to let them know their efforts are insufficient unless the above needs are met. (

  3. Our supervisor, Gordon Mar, made a commitment at the Community Meeting to advocate for TNDC to change its environmental treatment plan to a more serious attempt to remove the toxic gas from our environment (remediation through toxic vapor extraction). He also promised to insist that DTSC include the entire area as one coordinated project. We will follow-up with you at the end of the month and the end of June to let you know whether he has successfully advocated for these changes. Please email him to underline how important these changes are for the health of the community. (

  4. TNDC has quietly changed both the construction type of its proposed development at 2550 Irving St. and the demographics of the tenants. Initially, the building was to be constructed by Cahill Construction. They were going to build a building with the lowest two stories in concrete and the top five in wood with sturdy cross beams. This construction is excellent in earthquake country and light enough that one does not need to pound steel pylons deep into the earth as part of the foundation. However, probably because of steep increase in construction costs, they changed to Guzman Construction. This company builds concrete buildings and that is exactly what they have proposed- a seven story, entirely concrete building. This would be much heavier, less resilient during an earthquake, and demand deep pylons pounded into the subsoil. As you probably can imagine, this would mean substantial seismic vibrations, which would radiate for blocks, and potentially destroy many of our 100 year old foundations. In addition, concrete is the second most polluting material on earth, followed only by fossil fuel. Please email the project manager of 2550 Irving, at TNDC to let him know your thoughts about their recent construction choices. (

We have been working with our lawyer and our environmental consultants, as well as our architects, to come up with reasonable alternatives to the current plans, both structurally and environmentally. As you know, the position of MSNA is to support the affordable housing proposal at 2550 Irving, but with modifications. Many individuals have volunteered countless hours of their time and expertise, but our lawyer, our cost estimator, arranging for meetings, flyers, this all costs money.

If any of this information, if any of our concerns are meaningful to you, we are asking you to donate today. To support our efforts please donate here:

To learn more about this environmental issue, please check out our previous posts:

Please sign our petitions to DTSC and the Mayor's Office + Board of Supervisors here:


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