In 1916, the Associated Oil Company established the Alameda oil distribution plant to refuel ships in the Oakland Harbor. In 1925 the facility underwent a major expansion and became one of two bunker oil facilities in the harbor. Intended to primarily fuel ships docked at the company's wharf, the company also operated two fuel barges which serviced ships anchored in the bay.
Around 1948 the company merged with the Tide Water Oil Company (now Texaco). Phillips Petroleum operated the plant from 1959 until approximately 1972.
The owner initiated an environmental assessment of oil contamination after discovering and removing two undocumented underground storage tanks in the 1990's. The owner initiated a site investigation which included the drilling of soil borings and the installation of monitoring wells. The investigation was completed in 1995.Current Property Use
Petroleum contamination in soils and groundwater has been identified over a large area of the site. The spread of the groundwater contamination appears to be limited by sheet piles used during construction of the wharf, tank farm firewalls, and the Webster Tube.
High levels of lead in soils were found near former tank locations likely due to lead based paints. The tanks were sand-blasted prior to painting and the removed paint and sand-blast grit along with paint overspray accumulated near the base of the tank.
In 1972, the property was purchased by Alameda Developer John Berry. The main oil storage warehouse was remodeled into a chandlery and harbor master's office. A restaurant was built on the old pipeline wharf and a number of old railroad cars on the property have been remodeled as offices.Lessons Learned - Liability for Cleanup
The development also included the construction of the small shoreline park, and two restaurants, which included Chevy's flagship restaurant, along property leased from Cal-Trans.
Plans to construct a larger marina at the site by extending the piers further into the Oakland Harbor was not approved by the Army Corps of Engineers due to potential interference with navigation channels.
The owner is now interested in building a "drystack building" to house 160 boats eliminating the need for additional pier construction. A forklift would be used to store and launch the boats.
The current owner, who acquired the site in 1972, is not responsible for the preexisting contamination, and has taken legal actions against former property owners to recover costs of assessment and cleanup. A Special Master was assigned by the courts to allow the cleanup of contamination to proceed until a formal court decision can be made on the sharing of cleanup costs. The Special Master manages the cleanup as an independent party.What to Look For
Current practice of assessing the environmental condition of industrial property would have identified the environmental concerns at this property prior to transfer to a new owner.
The remnants of the oil depot, including the wharf, the loading docks around the converted warehouse, the tank farm fire wall and one of the two largest oil tanks remain.Site Statistics
DEVELOPER: Mariner Square Associates
ACREAGE: 4 acres
INVESTIGATION STATUS: Soil and Groundwater investigation completed 1995.
CLEANUP STATUS: None, case closure requested.
COST OF ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION TO DATE: $150,000 estimate
- Mariner Square Limited
- Southern Pacific Railroad
- Texaco, USA
- Phillips Petroleum