Navy's No Cleanup Plans Expensive
Public Works Project Picks Up TabThe installation of Storm Water Pump Station through a Navy toxic waste site has misappropriated the cost of Navy cleanup program onto the City of Alameda. The City performed expensive sampling, and will ultimately face a huge expense to dispose of contaminated soils and groundwater that was discovered during a pipeline installation between the pump station and Oakland Estuary.
A pipeline was installed through the middle of the Alameda Dog Park as part of the project. The construction activities and toxin discovery raises concerns about the risks to park users. The Navy's Environmental Baseline Survey (Zone 8 - Parcel 62) cleared the Dog Park and nearby Ferry Terminal Parking lot for transfer without cleanup. The EBS, however, identified Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in one-third of the soil samples collected from Parcel 62 (Dog Park). This discovery should have warranted further sampling.
The contamination encountered during construction is another indication of the inadequacy of the Navy's environmental baseline surveys. The Storm Water Pump Station project has taken a bad situation and made it considerably worse. As a result of stormwater and wind erosion, the City's project significantly impacted the nearby Oakland Estuary and dog park visitors.
Her Baloney Has a First Name it's A-N-T-I
Her Baloney Has a Second Name it's P-O-O-RCouncil member Barbara Kerr has raised two arguments against a proposed Community Garden at Parcel 99, a former Navy playground. The first argument is that the groundwater beneath Parcel 99 may be contaminated making the proposed garden a potential health risk. The second argument is that Parcel 99 is a valuable housing development site.
EJPP is calling this inconsistent logic Barbara's Baloney. Kerr is simply trying to stymie a "public benefit" use. In this case a three acre community garden that would be operated by a housing assistance provider.
Kerr is expressing concern for the health of residents when they are gardening, because there is no information about potential contaminants at Parcel 99. Kerr ignored information about contamination when she supported housing these same residents on a FISC/Annex toxic waste site. This proposed housing site has a long list of groundwater contaminants that include sodium cyanide. The site was formerly used for storage of radioactive wastes. If Kerr gets her way she'll probably add the community garden to the assisted housing and elementary school she has directed to this site.
The groundwater contamination that is widespread throughout Alameda Point is largely from fuels and organic solvents. When found beneath residences, these chemicals represent both an explosion risk and a human health risk. At the only Navy fuel spill area tested for methane gas concentrations of 20% by volume were found. State law will prohibit building a home within 2,000 feet of this location.
Kerr's inconsistent logic is at the heart of classism and racism in Alameda. Environmental Justice is meant to deal with Barbara's Baloney and ensure that the environmental review process is not used to discriminate against blue-collar and minority residents. "Gullibility Kills," were the last words from Carl Sagan's Fine Art of Baloney Detection. Barbara's Baloney. We aren't swallowing it.
Quote of the Month
"Your concerns are being addressed behind closed doors."
The Alameda District Attorney's Office response to a West End residents complaint about the lack of enforcement of public health and environmental standards at Alameda Point.
Skate Boarders get Green Light
City "CLUELESS" on Toxics at Park SiteOn April 26, 1999 the City gave the Green Light for the construction of the Skate Board Park. This approval was made without any consideration to the toxic contamination that may be encountered during construction. This construction will be performed by a group of largely teenage volunteers.
Immediately to the west of the Skate Board Park (Parcel 38) site, Parcel 37 was formerly used to fill fuel tank trucks that serviced air-craft. In February 1998, EJPP reported to the Alameda Fire Department that puddles of jet fuel had collected in the Cal-Start Parking lot and a storm drain immediately adjacent to Parcel 37. In November 1998, during dismantling of the Parcel 37 fuel system, a "separated weld" was discovered. The Navy has indicated that: "The layer of oil floating on the groundwater indicates that jet fuel has been leaking for sometime possibly years."
In November 1998, the Navy used an innovative sampling technology called SCAPS at Parcel 37. This technology provided immediate sample results and avoided the delays in using an off-site laboratory. Despite the expedited sample processing, six months have passed and the results have not been made available to the public.
The little information that is available on contamination at the Skate Board Park (Environmental Baseline Survey, Zone 8 - Parcel 38), reports the presence of pesticides, PCBs, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, and fuel hydrocarbons in soils. Additional information collected during the fuel system removal in December 1998 is still being withheld from the public.
Both the City Planning Commission and Park District are well aware of the toxic concern at the Alameda Point Park sites. In September 1998, the Planning Commission voted against the Spike and Pitch Park because of inadequate sampling at the park. The Park District has said they will make buttons that say "CLUELESS" for volunteers to wear during the Skate Board Park construction. EJPP thinks it's the City that needs to get a clue.
We Lack Information on Health Risks
They Lack Trust of People They Serve"We think about our needs and decide for ourselves which risks are worth taking," reads the February 1997 Superfund Today, a publication of the US EPA. As residents and neighbors of the Alameda Point Naval Air Station we don't make decision about our health risk, they (US EPA, Cal-EPA, US Navy) do.
"Community participation" has always been a farce. They do not want us participating in the environmental cleanup at Alameda Point. In another clear example of this farce, they have represented the risk posed from contamination in a Coast Guard Housing Area as safe.
The data which forms the basis for their opinion is being withheld from the public. They stated that the data must go through a quality control evaluation before a risk assessment can be prepared and released to the public. In other words their representations are unsubstantiated and will not hold up to public scrutiny.
We have been down this road before. They made the same statements about Estuary Park. They withheld data from the public for years. They said the park was perfectly safe for us. When they finally released the park data they did not provide a risk assessment. They can't admit their mistakes. They have allowed us to be poisoned. Why would we trust our health to them again. They insist on making decisions about our health behind close doors.
The time to perform their data quality validation should not be balanced against our health or our peace of mind. If we are going to decide for ourselves about risks we need to have information available with which to make an informed decision. The fact that they don't trust us with this data is exactly why we don't trust them.
Chemical Warfare or Urban Warrior?
Depends on Where you FishLocal, State and Federal regulators ignored the obvious in allowing hover-craft to land in the highly polluted Sea Plane Lagoon. A Federal District Court even denied an attempt by EJPP and others to obtain a restraining order against the Urban Warfare exercise. Anyone trying to verify statements made by the Marines on the impact of Hover-craft on marine sediments would have found that they had been misled. The hover-craft clearly disturbed toxic sediments which in many cases were deposited along landing spots.
Upon further investigation, petroleum fuel was observed seeping into the Northeast corner of the Sea Plane lagoon apparently from a former Navy fuel depot. This problem was originally identified in a 1978 environmental study. The location of this 25 year old seep looks like an oil soaked sponge. In the word of one community investigator, "You stick a probe into the Seaplane Lagoon Sediments, you begin to feel like Jed Clampett."
In Between Multi-Cultural Festivals
EJPP Left Footproint on Toxic CleanupIn May 1998, at the first Multi-Cultural Festival, EJPP presented the hazards posed by Estuary Park which at that time was still in use by organized Soccer Leagues. EJPP demanded the park be made off limits. In November 1998, the Navy finally acknowledged the hazards at the Estuary Park when a fence was installed around the park.
In June 1998, EJPP brought concerns about the use of former West End industrial sites for existing and future schools to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (NEJAC) meeting in Oakland. NEJAC advises the US EPA on matters related to discrimination in enforcement, siting, and public notification.
In November 1998, EJPP notified regulatory agencies about the Navy's illegal discharge of radioactive wastes into the bay.
In February 1999, EJPP brought concerns to the Defense Environmental Restoration Task Force (DERTF) meeting in San Francisco. DERTF is a Congressional Advisory Committee. EJPP pointed to several instances where delays in releasing information about public health and environmental impacts contributed to unnecessary public exposure to toxins.
EJPP continues to provide the only reliable information on public hazards at Alameda Point. Stay informed and watch where you step when visiting the Point.
Question Authority - Stop the 25 year old fuel leak alreadyFor over 25 years petroleum fuels have been allowed to continuously discharge into San Francisco Bay from a former fuel depot that was located in the middle of Atlantic Avenue inside the Alameda Point gate. This discharge of toxins into the Seaplane Lagoon has had a "demonstrated impact on sports fishing" and subsistence fishing, and is caused by a lack of enforcement of state and federal environmental laws in the West End of Alameda. The chemicals found in food fish caught in San Francisco Bay are directly related to the Navy's toxic waste sites. It is about time that the impact from Navy fuel spills on the dinner of Alameda residents comes to an end. Call a BCT member a demand immediate action to end this illegal water pollution.
- Steve Edde, Navy Program Coordinator, email@example.com
- Lyn Suer, US Environmental Protection Agency, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Anne-Marie Cooke, US Environmental Protection Agency, email@example.com
- Mary Rose Cassa, California Environmental Protection Agency, MCASSA@HW1.cahwnet.gov
The Environmental Justice Progress Report is the newsletter of West End Concerned Citizens (WECC). WECC has been monitoring the toxic cleanup planning process at the Alameda Point Naval Air Station (NAS) since 1995. Our community members have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of response to the public's concerns, the inadequate information provided to the public, and the lack of opportunities for the public to participate in the decision making process.
To receive a free copy of the this monthly report of for more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.