Parks and open space planning for Alameda Point has been hobbling along for 15 years. We still do not know when or who will be welcoming visitors to the Wildlife Refuge. We still do not know who, when, or what will happen with the Northwest Territories. These two areas, located in the runway portion of Alameda Point, comprise over 700 acres. Linking these two areas together with the Seaplane Lagoon frontage and the future Enterprise Park extending to the Encinal Boat Ramp is the vision of the recently launched Greenspace Project at Golden Gate University (GGU).
The Greenspace Project wants to get all the stakeholders – local, regional, state, and federal – in one room, on the same page, so that not only Alameda, but the entire region, can benefit from the exceptional and rare opportunity for creating a world-class park system at Alameda Point. And they want to do it now, before the Environmental Impact Report for Alameda Point is drafted.
The Greenspace Project is under the umbrella of GGU’s Center on Urban Environmental Law (CUEL). Alameda Point is the Project’s first endeavor, and they are partnering with the Washington, DC-based Urban Land Institute (ULI). They have retained the landscape planning services of accomplished open space planner Stephanie Landregan. Continue reading “Landmark Destination Park System for Alameda Point”
The Navy is proceeding with plans to remediate contaminated groundwater at the old disposal site at the northwest tip of Alameda Point. The contaminated groundwater is within the area known as Site 1, which encompasses over half of the old dump. In one particular area of the dump, the Navy routinely dumped liquid waste material. No one knows for sure how much of it was in drums that may still be rusting away, and how much was just poured into the pit.
Some current and former members of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) have long been concerned as to whether the size of the plume has been adequately characterized, meaning how wide and how deep. The main issue is its proximity to the Bay and whether remediation measures will prevent any of the hazardous compounds from entering Bay water. Continue reading “Environmental Cleanup – Update on Site 1”
Is it safe to eat vegetables grown at Alameda Point? A little-known EPA study conducted in 2005 around the Big Whites and Alameda Point Collaborative housing tried to answer that question. In the study, researchers collected fruits, vegetables and edible weed plants such as apples, figs, tomatoes, fava bean seeds, and also flowers of Cat’s Ear which people had been observed gathering for food.
The fruits and vegetables were gathered for the study from 15 locations and analyzed to see if PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) were absorbed by the root systems and transferred to the edible parts. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar, and can be produced by forest fires and car exhaust. They are of particular concern in the tested area because rail cars once carried oil products along the northern shore and also because dredge soils from the Oakland Estuary used to form Alameda Point contained byproducts from the coal gasification plant that once operated in Oakland near the estuary. Some of the chemicals in the PAH family, notably benzo(a)pyrene, have been identified as carcinogenic by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Even though some of the soil areas contained elevated levels of PAHs, the edible parts of the plants were found not to contain any contaminants. “None of the 16 PAH congeners on the EPA Priority Pollutant List was detected in any of the plant samples collected from the site,” the report says. Continue reading “Point Being: Are Point Veggies Safe?”
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 – 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 capon 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.