Chevron to clean up buried tar at old refinery site

Thanks to leadership at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board), Chevron Corporation will be cleaning up residual petroleum at a former refinery site it once owned at Alameda Point.

The true extent of the contamination is unknown, which is why Chevron is first taking soil samples at 43 spots around the open field next to the self-storage business near the intersection of West Oriskany Avenue and Skyhawk Street.  The investigation work was announced in a Work Notice/Fact Sheet from the Regional Water Board.  Work began on May 15 and will continue until May 26.  Their findings will provide the basis for a cleanup plan.

The petroleum cleanup site was put on the shelf until now because the Navy and the City figured that it was not causing any harm, therefore nothing had to be done until a developer purchased the lot.  The Regional Water Board, which has sole regulatory authority over petroleum cleanup, instead wanted to close the books on this outstanding cleanup site.

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Earthquake prediction raises questions about VA clinic location

A new warning about the heightened risk of liquefaction in Alameda during the next big earthquake should catch the attention of leaders at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  They plan on building its VA medical clinic and veteran benefits administrative facility on an artificially constructed hill out on the old airfield in the middle of an earthquake liquefaction zone.

The director of the Earthquake Science Center for the US Geological Survey, Christine Goulet, recently singled out the City of Alameda for being at risk of major damage from an earthquake along the Hayward Fault, according to an April 17 story in the Mercury News ominously titled, “’A house of cards’:  When the Big One comes, will Alameda be ready?

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Alameda Point leasing decisions on April 18th city council agenda

On April 18, the city council will meet in closed session to negotiate four property leases at Alameda Point.  Two are for buildings, and two are at a pier.  It is unknown if either of the two proposed building leases will include the option to purchase.  Nor is it known if the city council has weighed selling rather than leasing the two buildings and how it fits in with the goal of replacing antiquated infrastructure.

Hangar 39 – Manufacturer of drone pesticide sprayers negotiating lease terms

Vacant hangar that Pyka is interested in leasing.

City staff and the council will be negotiating a lease with an Oakland company called Pyka, which makes drone airplanes designed for spraying pesticides on agricultural crops in Costa Rica and elsewhere.  Their pesticide-spraying aircraft is called “Pelican Spray.  The pilotless plane was recently approved by the Costa Rican government for flying in Costa Rica to spray large commercial banana plantations, both day and night.

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De-Pave Park master plan kick-off meeting April 15th

If participating in creating a wetland ecological park in Alameda is of interest to you, mark your calendar for this upcoming outdoor event.

The master planning process for De-Pave Park on the west side of Alameda Point’s Seaplane Lagoon begins with an in-person workshop on Saturday, April 15, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

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Harbor seal update: Float research, whiskers for survival, and boating etiquette

Alameda Point harbor seal float inspires research at New York Aquarium

The harbor seal float at Alameda Point has been wildly successful.  It started out as an experiment.  Now it’s a model being studied at the New York Aquarium.

In July 2022, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium installed a float in an exhibit modeled after the float at Alameda Point.  The research project was initiated by aquarium keeper Payden Sra as part of her work toward a graduate degree.  Studying haul-out behavior of harbor seals in a controlled setting “can better advise conservation actions for the growing wild seal populations managed by local officials on the East Coast,” Sra wrote in the description of her study.  “While once a rare sight, it is increasingly common to see seals in New York.” 

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City Revisits Leasing vs. Selling Strategy for Alameda Point

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 7, City Council will hold a work session to discuss the pros and cons of leasing versus selling buildings at Alameda Point in the area designated for repurposing old buildings for reuse.

The designated Reuse Area is a large swath of real estate extending from the aircraft hangars to Main Street near the ferry terminal. The work session was spawned by the Council expressing concern that it had no policy guidance upon which to make decisions on whether to lease a building or sell it.

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Navy plan to destroy wetlands lacks scientific backing

Most Alamedans have read about the Navy’s plan for upgrading and expanding wetlands at Alameda Point where a regional park is planned. Unexpectedly, however, and behind closed doors, a single advisory staff member at a state agency halted the approved wetland expansion plan. He did so as work was already underway, and over 7,000 truckloads of soil had been delivered to upgrade the site. The controversy centers on the health risk that radium-226 luminescent paint waste artifacts may or may not pose to park visitors.

Alameda Post podcast highlights of the story – Friday, January 20, 2023.

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