Recent revelations of falsified cleanup data at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco have caused many people to wonder about the integrity of cleanup at Alameda Point. Can we trust the Navy’s reports concluding that goals have been met and land is suitable for transfer to the City?
The Navy thinks we can. “To date, the Navy found no indication of data falsification at Alameda,” said Cecily Sabedra, Navy Environmental Coordinator for Alameda Point.
But more importantly, the rigorous and extensive testing requirements of cleanup at Superfund sites suggest that the process itself is what the public should look to for reassurance. The data review process is exactly why a couple of employees were caught handing in fake soil samples at Hunters Point.
Groundwater cleanup is a good place to look at how the process has been working at Alameda Point, considering that is where the majority of the contamination has been. The groundwater contamination resulted from releases of jet fuel and cleaning solvent and two leaky gas stations. This cleanup has left the base riddled with groundwater sampling wells and injection wells used for injecting cleanup solutions or extracting pollutants. Continue reading “Navy’s Cleanup Drawing Scrutiny”
Plastic is one of the biggest threats the oceans face today. The Ocean Cleanup organization has a plan to start cleaning it up. It has designed and tested a floating net system that will be assembled at Alameda Point and towed out to the Pacific Ocean garbage patch this summer.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans,” states The Ocean Cleanup. “It is located halfway between Hawaii and California.”
For the past two years, Ocean Cleanup has been systematically retrieving trash and analyzing the contents. “The vast majority of plastics retrieved were made of rigid or hard polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), or derelict fishing gear (nets and ropes particularly),” states the group. The trash ranged in size from small fragments to larger objects and meter-sized fishing nets. Forty-six percent of the total mass is made up of fishing nets.
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.
On March 6, the Alameda City Council will consider a change to the stalled development deal for Site A, the mixed-use project at Alameda Point. The proposed change would remove a restrictive condition governing the order in which construction happens.
Alameda Point Partners (APP), the developer for Site A, is requesting an amendment to its Development and Disposition Agreement. The amendment would remove a provision that allows the city to withhold building permits for market rate units if the affordable housing subcontractor, Eden Housing, is unable to secure all of its financing. The purpose of the current provision, called a Metering Provision, was to ensure that the affordable housing units would be built in a timely manner. The city has approved the designs for Eden’s 70-unit family affordable complex and 60-unit senior affordable complex. Continue reading “Site A mixed-use construction poised to commence”
Photos of a Great Egret foraging for Yellowfin Gobies in the shallow mudflat next to Breakwater Beach at the southeast corner of Alameda Point. After catching a Goby, the Egret would then have to fling the little fish into the air to maneuver the fish back to its mouth. Photos are from Friday, February 9, 2018.
Natel, a company at Alameda Point, is developing small-scale turbines that can harness water flow to produce electricity without a dam.
Rivers have been harnessed for the production of electricity since 1882. That’s when the world’s first hydroelectric dam was built across the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. But dams are costly public works projects with negative environmental consequences, including the flooding of vast watersheds and blocking fish migration.
Natel has taken an invention from the dawn of hydropower called a Pelton Wheel and flattened it out. Natel’s Linear Pelton hydroEngine is able to capture more of the water’s energy than the original wheel design, employing a dual series of cups on a conveyor system connected to a generator shaft. Continue reading “Natel advances small-scale hydropower turbines”
Alameda Point’s harbor seal population fluctuates between single digits and 50 during most of the year on the specially-built harbor seal float. But when the Pacific herring arrive in the winter to lay their eggs, many more seals arrive to feast on the herring, causing a sudden spike. Last winter, a spike in seal numbers to a record 70 came on January 5, 2017, in the midst of the herring run. This winter, the herring arrived sooner, in December, and so did more harbor seals, causing a spike to a new record of 73 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In the brief time span since the new harbor seal float was set in place, local monitors have assumed that it was simply the colder water temperatures that enticed greater numbers of seals to use the float in the winter. But in fact, they discovered it’s not the full story.
It turns out that dropping water temperature indeed has an effect, but the effect is on the herring. Ideal water temperature for herring spawning is between 50 and 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature at Alameda Point dropped below 54 degrees the afternoon of December 16 and continued dropping another 2.3 degrees, according to data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This brought on the herring run and, in turn, the voracious seals.