On Monday, December 9, 2019, the Planning Board will consider approving changes to the Waterfront Park and Block 11 at Site A at Alameda Point that were previously approved in 2016 “in an effort to reduce escalating construction costs and long term maintenance costs for both the building and the park.” The City has already granted numerous modifications to the development agreement, with good reasons. The current request does not merit approval because it would cheapen the waterfront focal point. Continue reading “Developer proposes changes that would cheapen waterfront area”
A Navy contractor will be cleaning up groundwater in part of the Town Center area next to the Seaplane Lagoon by injecting a solution of cheese whey, emulsified vegetable oil and water into nearly 200 wells that go down between 30 and 40 feet. The whey and vegetable oil will cause natural bacteria to flourish that will feed on the toxic trichloroethene (TCE) solvent causing it to break down.
According to the Navy, this type of food-stimulated bacterial bioremediation is common. The cheese whey is similar to the powdered whey products found in grocery stores. It will be delivered to the site already diluted in water. A hose will be connected to a fire hydrant and hooked to a metering device that will mix the whey and oil solution with municipal water as it is pumped into the wellheads.
The work is expected to begin in 2015, with periodic visits and testing until 2020. The first year of operation the contractor will make two visits of 35 days each. During each of these work periods they will inject 246,000 gallons of whey, oil, and water solution into the ground, allowing gravity to disperse the liquid.
The goal of the cleanup is to minimize the potential for hazardous vapors entering buildings, and chemicals migrating into the Seaplane Lagoon. TCE is an industrial solvent used to degrease metal parts. It was heavily used at aircraft and ship engine repair facilities on the site. A leak from a rail car is believed to be one of the major sources of the plume.
The 33-acre cleanup area is immediately to the south of the Navy jet on West Atlantic Avenue at the east entry to Alameda Point near Main Street. It is within the 150 acres of the Town Center that the city is seeking to develop in the near future. In April, the city council sent out requests seeking qualified developers interested in residential and commercial projects. The cheese and veggie oil cleanup area will not be transferred to the city until at least 2020 when cleanup has been certified to have met its goals.
Cleanup of fuel in groundwater ended about four years ago at an old fuel distribution point on the north side of the jet monument.
Below is an audio and image presentation from the Alameda Point Restoration Advisory Board meeting on May 8, 2014.
The city has announced that over 500 acres of land will be transferred from the Navy to the city on June 4, 2013. It will be the first – and largest – of a four-phase schedule of land transfers to the city. One of the areas that won’t be transferred this year is located at the main entryway into the future Town Center currently being designed.
Driving into the “East Gate” on West Atlantic Avenue to Ferry Point Road at the Seaplane Lagoon takes you through part of the future Town Center – and through a major environmental cleanup area called Operating Unit (OU) 2B.
Plans for a vibrant mixed-use Town Center to kick off redevelopment are now in the design stage, but 33 acres on the south side of West Atlantic Avenue won’t be transferred to the city until 2019. That’s when contaminated groundwater is expected to be cleaned up to commercial standards, allowing the Navy to turn over the land.
The overhaul of aircraft and ship engines in this area led to major contamination of groundwater with trichloroethane and vinyl chloride, as well as pockets of soil contamination. After testing various cleanup methods on the contaminated groundwater area – called a plume – the Navy and regulatory agencies have decided to rely mainly on bioremediation – natural bacteria – to degrade the contamination.
Soil hot spots will be removed, except under buildings. Future developers will be responsible for soil under buildings once they are demolished.
One of the groundwater hot spots close to the Seaplane Lagoon was successfully treated last year with a heat and vapor extraction system. Some of the other hot spots are impossible to treat with electrical heating because of underground power lines nearby.
The Navy has found bioremediation to be the most practical method to finish the job. Work details will be finalized later this year. Bioremediation can involve injecting new bacteria, but here it will likely mean injecting oxygen to spur the growth of existing bacteria. It’s the carbon atoms in the chemical contaminants that are attractive to bacteria, allowing them to naturally disassemble a chemical compound.
Someday, decades from now, the danger from vapors entering buildings will be low enough to permit ground floor residential use. Current restrictions imposed under the Navy’s cleanup plan will prohibit ground floor residential, but will allow residential use above the first floor, provided an approved vapor barrier and venting system is installed under any new construction. First floors will be allowed to have commercial uses once the city receives the land in 2019. Groundwater monitoring wells around the cleanup area will remain usable and accessible for regular monitoring for at least 20 years.
The cleanup area north of West Atlantic – 13 acres called Site 3 – will be turned over to the city next year following removal of several contaminated soil hot spots containing lead and other contaminants. Some of the contaminated soil areas are under building slabs on Site 3 and will be the responsibility of a future developer. All of the buildings in the East Gate cleanup area called Operating Unit (OU) 2B – 46 acres – are expected to be demolished rather than reused.
Site 3 north of West Atlantic was also heavily contaminated with jet fuel around an area where underground fuel storage tanks were once located. The former storage tank area is west of the jet monument and is still dotted with white pipe stubs once connected to a maze of cleanup pipes. The jet fuel cleanup was completed two years ago under the Navy’s Petroleum Program using a vapor extraction system. Removal of underground tanks and fuel lines was completed in 1999.