The Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company was based at a large limestone quarry near Santa Cruz where cement was produced and brought in bulk by rail to the Alameda Plant beginning in 1934. The cement was stored in the large concrete silos and packaged for sale in the adjacent corrugated steel packing house from where it was moved by ship, rail, or truck. The plant continued to operate until 1966.Environmental Concerns
Underground storage tanks are the only environmental concern that has been identified on the site. The site was inspected by Alameda County Local Oversight Program in 1990 who noted that the tanks were not permitted as required and sent the property owner a notice of violation.Current Property Use
In July 1993 Alameda County received an anonymous complaint that the tanks had over-flowed and discolored soils in the area. Such complaints are common from disgruntled employees. A county inspector visited the site, again noted the unpermitted tanks but did not identify any impacted soil.
In March of 1995 a notice of violation was sent to the owner by the county. Later in July of 1995 the District Attorney and property owner were notified of an attempt to determine liability for the tanks. In response to pending legal action the owner removed the tanks in October of 1995. Because the site overlies the Webster Tube soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells can not be installed.
Underground tank owners are required to upgrade or replace all tanks by 1998.
Barnhill Construction a general contractor moved into the site in 1966 and used the Packing House as an office space and the surrounding yard for equipment storage. The original wharf was demolished and the Barnhill houseboat marina was constructed along the shoreline.Lessons Learned - Inadequate Law Enforcement
No redevelopment of the property is proposed due to the number of easements including the railroad, utilities (water, gas, telephone), the Webster and Posey Tubes and a height restriction due to the Navy Runway.
Compliance with environmental laws is dependent more on an honor system than on aggressive enforcement. When violations of environmental laws are identified, the regulatory follow up is often incomplete. Regulators often take a reactive rather than proactive approach to enforcement relying on complaints from employees and property neighbors, or identified environmental and health impacts before taking action.What to Look For
Since 1994, the state's underground storage tank fund has collected a 0.006 cent per gallon tax on gasoline to fund an insurance pool for cleanup of underground fuel storage tank leaks. Up to one million dollars per tank has been made available to responsible parties subject to a $10,000 deductible. The fund distributes money according to financial need and availability of funds. Approximately $1.5 billion dollars will be distributed by the Fund between the years 1994 and 2005.
The Barnhill and surrounding property uses for equipment storage typifies Brownfields. The reluctance or unavailability of financing to invest in property improvements and maintenance leaves the property under utilized, particularly when compared to some of the recent property developments in the area.Site Statistics
DEVELOPER: Barnhill Construction Company
ACREAGE: 3.5 acres
INVESTIGATION STATUS: Investigation not proposed due to property easements.
CLEANUP STATUS: Tank removal.
COST OF ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION TO DATE: $25,000 estimated.
- Cal Trans
- Santa Cruz Portland Cement
- Barnhill Construction