Navy Announces Cleanup Plans – Public Meeting August 31, 2011

OU-2A cleanup area - Seaplane Lagoon and USS Hornet are to the left - numbered areas are individual site #s

After years of investigation, the Navy, along with the federal and state regulators, has come up with a remediation plan for 39 acres, encompassing five sites, called Operating Unit 2A. On Wednesday, August 31, the Navy will spell out its plan for remediation and solicit comments.  The meeting will be at City Hall West at Alameda Point, 950 West Mall Square, Room 201 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Operating Unit 2A is roughly one block away from the soccer fields on the south side of Alameda Point and one block away from the USS Hornet.  The Unit has contamination issues that date back to 1879 when the Pacific Coast Oil Works Company began operating an oil refinery near Main Street.

The main two highlights up for discussion are:

Building 410

Building 410 is where the Navy operated an aircraft paint stripping facility.  The soil was found to be clean, but toxic chemicals seeped into the groundwater.  The conclusion reached by the Navy and regulators is that no active remediation efforts need to be conducted.  Instead, they will rely on “natural attenuation,” which means to let nature take its course through dilution, dispersion, and biodegradation of the contaminants.

Building 410 - former paint stripping building

Their rationale for not undertaking a vigorous program to clean the groundwater to drinking water safety levels is that no one will ever be using it for drinking water, especially because of high salt content.  No wells are permitted and, even if a well was desired for drinking water, there is pure water at the much deeper 100-foot depth.  They also claim that vapors will not intrude into structures because it is in the second water-bearing zone and, therefore, the water zone above will act as a barrier. Continue reading “Navy Announces Cleanup Plans – Public Meeting August 31, 2011”

Point Being: Clean Ups and Downs

Dredging northeast corner of Seaplane Lagoon

Cleanup at Alameda Point continues to unfold. Every month the Restoration Advisory Board meets to stay apprised of the happenings and offer comments. The public is invited to attend on the first Thursday of the month, 6:30 p.m. at the rear of City Hall West at Alameda Point. Here are some highlights from the February meeting and a “Point Being” video update on the Seaplane Lagoon.

Site 1 at western end of Alameda Point in Northwest Territories - burn area in background - Bay Bridge in distance

Site 1 – Burn Area Larger Than Expected

There’s a glitch in the ditch at Site 1 out at the northwestern tip, in the Northwest Territories.  This is one of two of the Navy’s industrial dumps (aka disposal sites – the other one being Site 2 to the south on the Wildlife Refuge), and plans were on the calendar to begin the remediation plan on the 30-acre Site 1, which is set to become recreational open space, this year. But instead of 2013, it will now be 2015 before we are throwing Frisbees, riding the Bay Trail, or launching kayaks on the windy, incomparable western shore.

The plan was, and still is, to install a four-foot engineered soil cap on top of the site, after digging out and hauling away refuse from the burn area, where things like railroad ties were burned, which makes up a small part of the site. But as the Navy contractor was doing prep work for a detailed work plan, they discovered that the old burn area is larger than expected and that soil under the burn area “exceeded remediation goals,” which at the very least means more testing to find out what else is there.

Continue reading “Point Being: Clean Ups and Downs”