Presentation will feature history of radiological cleanup
The Navy will make a presentation on the status of its radiological investigation and cleanup at the next Alameda Point Restoration Advisory Board meeting, which will be held Thursday, March 22, 2018. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. in the second floor meeting room at 950 W. Mall Square on Alameda Point.
Multiple sites became contaminated with paint waste that contained radium-226, an element used in making aircraft dials glow in the dark.
“The Navy has made significant progress cleaning up environmental contamination at the former Naval Air Station Alameda,” said Cecily Sabedra, Environmental Coordinator for the Navy. “The environmental program is mature, with only one cleanup decision plan remaining. The public will have an opportunity to comment on this plan in spring 2018.”
This remaining cleanup decision is for Site 32 on the far reaches of the former aircraft runway area. The main contaminant of concern at this site, coincidentally, is radium-226. Radium paint waste was disposed of at the adjacent underground dump in the mid-20th Century, and some of the waste was later bulldozed onto adjacent soil when the new runway was added.
The entire former Navy property measures 2,807 acres, covering both land and water, of which 91 percent has been transferred out of Navy ownership. Approximately $560 million have been spent on environmental cleanup. The Navy will continue to monitor the cleanup remedies to ensure they are maintaining the established environmental and health and safety goals.
“The Navy expects to transfer the remaining property in multiple, small transactions over the next four years,” said Sabedra.
One of those land transfer transactions, dubbed Phase 3C, will happen later this year and involve four separate parcels comprising about 15 acres of land. One of those parcels is Building 41, the aircraft hangar at the corner of Ferry Point Road and West Tower Avenue. The building is now occupied by Wrightspeed, a maker of electric motor systems for powering large vehicles like garbage trucks.
Groundwater under part of Building 41 was contaminated with cleaning solvent used during aircraft maintenance work. The groundwater underwent successive cleanup treatments by the Navy, first injecting biodegradable chemicals to neutralize the solvent, and then using bacteria in a process known as bioremediation. The Navy has now achieved contaminant reduction suitable for transfer to the City.
Also included in the Phase 3C land transfer will be Building 400, which is part of the hangar complex facing the southwest corner of the Seaplane Lagoon, and the self-storage facility next to Main Street at West Oriskany Drive.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.