Category Archives: Benicia CA


[BenIndy contributor Roger Straw: ‘Benicia Our Home’ at the Clocktower will be incredible – kind of a send-off for my sweetheart of 52 years, Benicia Poet Laureate Mary Susan Gast. Larnie Fox commented on Mary Susan’s poetry and leadership, “Mary Susan has been an amazing presence on the scene here, easing us through insurrections, mass shootings and COVID with compassion and insight.” As to the June 25 event, I can’t believe we ALSO have the California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick coming! And more – Constance Beutel’s song-video will bring Benicians together in an unprecedented way – such positivity as we’ve not seen in my time in Benicia… Mark your calendar now, and plan to attend!]

Click image to enlarge.
BENICIA OUR HOME, JUNE 25 – Mark your calendar now!

Plan now to attend a festive historic event at Benicia’s Clocktower on June 25th at 3 PM. Benicians and friends will gather to celebrate our homeplace, to tell its story and join in song. This free event sponsored by the Benicia Public Library will feature a very special guest, California’s Poet Laureate Lee Herrick, and we will hear from our outgoing Poet Laureate, Mary Susan Gast. Visual artwork portraying life in Benicia will be on display, and we will hear “ZipOdes 94510,” short poems by Benician residents. A super highlight will be the premier showing of “Benicia Our Home,” a film portraying scenes of Benicia accompanied by over 200 Benicians in song. Don’t miss this!

Reserve the date – June 25 – and plan to meet at the Clock Tower at 3PM.

Looking forward to being with you there!

Roger Straw

Update: Benicia Public Works restores water service near East 5th Street

Benicia Public Works crews worked around the clock to repair water main line break near St. Dominic’s School

A Benicia Public Works staff member assists in repairing a damaged pipe.
Benicia Public Works crews worked day and night to ensure St. Dominic’s School and the 800 and 900 blocks near East 5th Street have access to running water. | Uncredited image from Benicia City Government tweet.

By Nathalie Christian, May 18, 2023.

On the morning of May 17, 2023,  Benicia City Government reported via social media that a leak occurring in a water main around the 800 and 900 blocks of East 5th Street had left many residences and St. Dominic’s School without running water.

On Thursday, May 18, Public Works Director Kyle Ochenduzsko provided the Benicia Independent with following update via the Benicia City Government’s Twitter account:

Yesterday morning, a water main line break was detected on East 5th Street. City of Benicia Public Works crews worked around the clock to repair the line and restore water to affected residents this morning. Thank you to our dedicated crews!

Thank you, Benicia Public Works crews and staff!

Water main break leaves Benicia residents without running water (Update!)

Benicia Public Works Director promises to restore water service at St. Dominic’s and impacted homes, even if it takes all night

Map of impacted residences and buildings
This map shows impacted homes and businesses left without running water, as shared by the City’s Instagram post. | Uncredited image

By Nathalie Christian, May 17, 2023; updated May 18.

From the Benicia City Government’s Instagram account:

Early this morning, there was a water main break near the 800 and 900 blocks of East 5th Street. St. Dominic’s School and homes in the area are currently without water (see map of affected area). St. Dominic’s is closed for the day and parents have been notified. Public Works has begun working on the repair to restore water service as soon as possible. The repair is estimated to take several hours depending on the severity of the break. We will update the community when we have more information.

Responding to a request for an update, Public Works Director Kyle Ochenduzsko shared the following:

Crews are still working on the leaking pipe. Unfortunately, I do not have an estimated time to fix. If need be, our crews are prepared and ready to be working throughout the night to restore water as soon as possible.

As someone who has personally seen Mr. Ochenduzsko and his team in action, working tirelessly to fix a water issue that impacted my own home, I have full confidence that this issue will be resolved as swiftly as humanly and safely possible.

Benicia’s Public Works Department has consistently gone above and beyond to ensure essential infrastructure and services are safe and operational for Benicia residents. They deserve our support during trying times like these.

Status update

At 10:25 am on Thursday, May 18, Mr. Ochenduzsko provided the Benicia Independent with following update, available through Benicia City Government’s Twitter account:

Yesterday morning, a water main line break was detected on East 5th Street. City of Benicia Public Works crews worked around the clock to repair the line and restore water to affected residents this morning. Thank you to our dedicated crews!

Thank you, Benicia Public Works crews and staff!

A separate post announcing this update will be created and shared shortly.

Travis Air Force Base ordered to address dishonorable discharges

[BenIndy Contributor Nathalie Christian – Here’s more on the latest EPA action in Solano County, this time at Travis Air Force Base. Travis AFB’s 6,368-acre site is located in Fairfield, California. Cheeky headlines aside, jet fuel spilling into creeks and contaminating groundwater is no joke. These spills represent a tremendous danger most immediately to Union Creek’s delicate ecosystem and could create public health impacts down the road. – N.C.]

EPA Orders U.S. Air Force to Address Oil Discharge at Travis Air Force Base

May 4, 2023

Contact Information: John Senn (

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued an emergency order to the U.S. Air Force to enhance and expedite measures to address an ongoing oil discharge into Union Creek from the Travis Air Force Base (Travis AFB) in Solano County, Calif. EPA has determined that a substantial threat exists to local waterbodies and shorelines because of the ongoing discharge and previous similar incidents on Travis AFB.

“This order is critical for ensuring that the Air Force addresses the oil discharge into Union Creek in a thorough and timely manner, and that no impacts to public health occur,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is committed to fully utilizing our authorities to make sure that the current oil discharge is stopped and similar incidents are prevented.”

The order, issued under the Clean Water Act, compels the Air Force take a series of steps to mitigate the oil discharge, including:

  • Utilizing oil spill recovery equipment and techniques to limit the spread of oil in Union Creek;
  • Investigating and mitigating the source of the oil;
  • Collecting and analyzing water and sediment samples in Union Creek; and
  • Implementing actions to prevent oil from entering the storm drain and creek.

The order also requires the Air Force to enter into a unified command structure that brings together the oil spill response expertise of federal, state and local governments to address the discharge. Agencies actively engaged in the response include EPA, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and Solano County.

Oil discharges to Union Creek from Travis AFB were first identified by the Air Force as early as October 2021, but were not reported to EPA or the National Response Center until February 4, 2022. Since that time, the Air Force has made numerous notifications to the National Response Center regarding an oil sheen on Union Creek, including reporting a spill of jet fuel from a pipeline on the base on August 4, 2022. These spill notifications have continued to occur in 2023. EPA analyses of samples collected from the pipeline spill area and from the sheen on Union Creek indicate the contamination at both areas are likely from a common source. On December 21, 2022, the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Control Board sent the Air Force a notice of noncompliance for discharges of jet fuel to Union Creek.

The Air Force has yet to take action to identify and address the source of the oil discharge to Union Creek. The initial oil spill response efforts implemented by the Air Force at Travis AFB were limited, and these efforts were only upgraded after input from EPA and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response.

Learn more about EPA’s work at Travis Air Force Base.

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