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Cleanup kerfuffle

Submitted by on 1, July 6, 2009 – 5:50 am4 Comments

The latest little wrinkle in the ongoing Alameda Point cleanup saga lies due north of the Seaplane Lagoon, in the vicinity of the former aircraft maintenance facility housed by Building 5. The city has long planned to build housing on the site. But the Navy isn’t planning to clean the entire site up to residential standards.

A draft feasibility study put together by the Navy – one of several steps in the cleanup process for the site – contemplates several options for cleaning up the site, which is contaminated with petroleum, radioactive materials and more. But under the Navy’s plans, a portion of the site that sits south of West Tower Road (and Building 5) would only be cleaned up to a level that would be safe for industrial or commercial use.

Both the preliminary development concept for the Point and SunCal’s development plan envision housing at the site.

The city council, meanwhile, sitting as the Island’s redevelopment authority, is planning to send a letter to go along with the final feasibility study, which is due in late September. A proposed cleanup plan is due in April 2010.

Meanwhile, the Navy has issued a press release on its cleanup efforts, with a reminder that it’ll be up to SunCal – and not the Navy – to manage and pay for any cleanup efforts needed in order to proceed with development efforts that are outside the scope of the city’s preliminary development concept, which the Navy says it is using as its guide for cleanup efforts.

Per the June 10 release:

In those instances where the DON (Department of Navy) planned cleanup does not match the new SunCal Specific Plan, it will be the responsibility, and financial obligation, of the developer to coordinate with the appropriate regulatory authorities to determine what actions must be taken to ensure the revised development plan is protective of human health and the environment.


  • DL Morrison says:

    Thanks for posting this — it's very informative (!). It's worth noting that SunCal's $700M draft infrastructure budget does NOT contain any cost estimates for environmental remediation. In fact, it indicates that remediation will not be SunCal's responsibility. Looking at what the Navy says in its press release, and what the City's summary of the initiative says as well, there's a major question of how this very expensive responsibility will be paid for.

    The paragraph I've posted below (from pg. 37 of the Executive Summary), reiterates that "developer obligations could include additional remediation" for sites remediated "for commercial reuse only". It also says that "interim measures, such as vapor barriers and venting systems" might be required. What is that going to cost? It's increasingly difficult to believe that SunCal could carry out its current plan in reality, and at the very least, we need some further explanation as to how they plan to proceed.

    "Although the Navy is required to remediate Alameda Point, following transfer, the developer still may have some remediation obligations. Developer obligations could include additional remediation if residential uses are proposed for sites that were remediated by the Navy for commercial reuse only pursuant to the Reuse Plan, or to address hazardous substance releases due to demolition of existing structures and improvements (ACM, LBP, etc.).

    Also, interim measures, such as vapor barriers and venting systems, may be required to be installed by developer in some new structures, if developer elects to develop property before long-term remediation is complete, because indoor vapor intrusion must be prevented while the underlying groundwater undergoes long-term remediation."


  • Santa Susana Knolls says:

    I happened upon your discussion, and wanted to let all of you know that down here in Simi Valley, the where the Federal government agency called the Department of Energy contaminated the area above our city called the Santa Susana Knolls and Burro Flat, also with radiation, TCE/PCE and perchlorate, the DOE's definition of a "commercial/industrial standard" of clean up was far different that the common standard used by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. The DOE wanted to use a 1 in 100,000 death standard for remediation, whereas the more common standard used by the state is 1 in 1 Million. Big difference. So you really have to know how the Department of the Navy is calculating their definition of "remediation to a commercial/industrial standard", because it may be a whole lot MORE expensive to "upgrade" the clean up to a residential standard than any of you are expecting.

  • David Howard says:

    I'm sorry…but it's not "news" that the Navy is cleaning up to a lesser standard than what is needed to support SunCal's plan for the site. Opponents of SunCal's plan have been talking about that and highlighting it to the local press for over a year now.

  • David M says:

    It's a big joke to develop anything at the old Alameda Naval Air Station. Alameda simply does not have the infrastructure to handle the additional traffic. I feel like the Lone Ranger saying this because it seems nobody else at Oak and Santa Clara understands this simple fact. Have we forgotten the horrendous traffic jam that used to exist when the Naval Air Station employees got off work? Its only going to be worse than that if we develop the area. I say rip out all the old asphalt and concrete and let the entire area go back to nature. Doing nothing is the best answer.

    Additionally, don't fool yourself into thinking that most everyone who lives there is going to ride their bicycle, take public transit or carpool.

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