Mapped: Humboldt County’s HAZMAT incidents to date in the year 2019.

Today we are thrilled to announce the internet’s newest feature: The Lost Coast Outpost Spillbot! It’s your friendly neighborhood HAZMAT siren.

Check it out at this link!

What does the Spillbot do? It’s in constant contact with the good folks at the California Office of Emergency Management, which keeps tabs on all the times that hazardous materials — chemicals, petroleum, sewage — are released into the environment.

When such a case happens in Humboldt County, the Spillbot writes up a quick precis of the case and notifies the Lost Coast Outpost readership. Look for its updates in the “Alerts” section on the LoCO home page.

There have been 49 separate HAZMAT incidents in the county so far this year. They break down like this:

  • 42 petroleum incidents
  • 13 sewage incidents
  • 1 chemical incident
  • 2 “unspecified” incidents
  • 1 “other” incident (runoff from the old dump)

Now, most of these are pretty piddly. Just yesterday, two separate incidents were reported in Eureka and Arcata, both seemingly involving garbage trucks, in which a gallon or two of hydraulic fluid (each) were released into the environment due to equipment failure. Both were cleaned up quickly.

Some of them are more serious, though! Who among us knew that back in February Shelter Cove released 54,000 gallons of sewage into the Pacific Ocean? Yikes! We did not know that. Going forward, we will all know when things like that happen.

So three cheers for the Spillbot, everyone! In a second, here, we will give it a place of honor underneath the “news gizmos” menu in the nav bar.