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Volume 34, August 2000

Table of Contents

Federal Health Agency Releases Site Summary
ATSDR to Investigate Eight Public Health Concerns in West End

After a request by Clearwater Revival Company, the Agency for Toxic Substances Control's (ATSDR's) Site Summary Report for the Alameda Point Naval Air Station Superfund Site was provided to a West End resident on July 30, 2000. The Site Summary Report identifies the public health concerns that will be investigated during the Public Health Assessment.

ATSDR is required to perform a Public Health Assessment at all Superfund sites. The Public Health Assessment evaluates the potential for significant health impacts in the community that may be impacted by toxic spill sites at Alameda Point. The Public Health Assessment, to be completed in the Spring of 2001, can recommend more detailed health studies such as cancer incidence analysis or no further action.

The Site Summary Report indicates that ATSDR will evaluate the following issues in the Public Health Assessment Report.

  1. In the past and currently, children playing soccer on the playground at Estuary Park (Site 25) could accidentally ingest soils that are contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

  2. In the future, people could possibly breathe unsafe levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) seeping into the air from groundwater under the homes in North and Marina Villages.

  3. People unaware of contaminated seafood could be eating what they catch from the seawall area near Seaplane Lagoon and Oakland Inlet.

  4. In the future, children playing in parcels 106 and 107 may accidentally ingest soils there that may contain lead from paint stripping of the water tanks.

  5. In the past, present, and future, people on base (East Housing area) and in the community may breathe and touch contaminants from the Marsh Crust, a zone of contamination trapped in soil from an old (ca. 1900) coal gasification plant.

  6. A citizen expressed concern about his private well having a gasoline odor.

  7. A former fire-fighter has asked ATSDR to comment on his past occupational exposure to PCBs at Site 14 and 15.

  8. A citizen expressed concern about the reuse of buildings and other areas on base and the safety categorization.

The ATSDR Summary Report and the proposed scope of the Public Health Assessment are a tremendous disappointment. To perform a Public Health Assessment at Alameda Point, ATSDR needs to look at the previous exposures of West End residents that are documented in Risk Assessments prepared by the Navy. In fact, ATSDR references one of these risk assessments in a Public Health Assessment prepared for Kelly Air Force Base. West End resident's request to have past exposures considered have apparently fallen on the deaf ears at ATSDR.

Site 16 Boundaries Expanded Three Years after Community Request
Navy, Regulators, GIS System overlook Significant Pesticide Contamination

The August 2000 Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting included an update on IR Site 16 and a demonstration of the Navy's GIS system which generates computer displays of toxic sample results. During the Site 16 discussion it was announced that Parcel 168 would be added to the boundaries of IR Site 16 to address a groundwater contaminant plume in the area.

Clearwater Revival Company questioned the presenter on why Chlordane, a pesticide that is now banned from manufacturing, was not included on the list of chemicals of concern for IR Site 16. Soil samples collected from Parcel 168 contained up to 850 ppm of Chlordane, over 565 times the level considered safe for commercial use. An attempt to produce the chlordane sample results using the GIS system failed, which undermined the RAB's opinion of whether the results of all samples were included in the GIS system database.

In October 1997, Clearwater Revival Company requested that Parcel 168 be included in Site 16 based on the results of the Chlordane samples. The request was included in comments on the Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) that were sent to the US Navy, US EPA and Cal-EPA. Clearwater Revival Company has made repeated requests for a response from the Navy on these EBS comments. These requests, which have included a letter from Senator Barbara Boxer to the Secretary of the Navy, have never prompted a response from the Navy.

The Chlordane contamination at Parcel 168 was found in samples collected over 5 years ago at concentrations that warranted an immediate response. These sample results were called to the attention of the US Navy, US EPA, and Cal-EPA by Clearwater Revival Company 3 years ago, again without the immediate response that was warranted. Each of these agencies owes an apology to the residents of Alameda for over-looking information on toxic releases, ignoring public comments, and needlessly delaying the investigation and cleanup of a significant environmental hazard.

Quotes of the Month

"All parties have agreed that the solution to a toxic dump near the northwestern corner of the former base is a cap."

This Alameda Journal report on the US EPA's grant to the City of Alameda indicates that Community Acceptance will not be considered in selecting a remedy for IR Site 1, the West Beach Landfill, because a decision has already been made. The IR Site landfill contains radioactive waste, toxic wastes, and unexploded ordinance that are leaching into San Francisco Bay. Many in the community believe that the EPA proposed cap would not be protective of San Francisco Bay, and is not consistent with EPA policy for stabilizing leaking hazardous waste dumps. The EPA Policy to consider Community Acceptance of cleanup remedies has also been ignored. EPA policies establish both expectations and standards for "fair treatment." When will these policies apply to the community impacted by the Alameda Point Superfund Site?

Question Authority - "Where is it?"

An Information Repository is the most important element of public participation in environmental cleanup programs such as the Navy Superfund Site at Alameda Point. If a report is not in the repository the public is not considered in making cleanup decisions.

Contact a regulator and tell them that you want to see a copy of ATSDR's Site Summary Report, or a copy of the report on Chlordane Contamination at Parcel 168 (now part of Site 16). Ask them. If a document is not in the repository, where is it?

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 ejpp@toxicspot.com.

July 2000 Edition
August 21, 2000