weccAd Info
 Alameda Point: Environmental Justice Progress Report

EJ Progress Report

About EJPP

2001 EJPP Archives

2000 EJPP Archives

1999 EJPP Archives

1998 EJPP Archives

1997 EJPP Archives

Alameda Point

Toxic Maps

Radioactive Sites

Leaking Tanks


Home Page




Volume 38, January 2001

Table of Contents

Marina Village Family Housing formerly a TSDF - Site Formerly Managed Hazardous Waste from Off-site facilities

A review of 1989 to 1997 hazardous waste records from Alameda Naval Air Station (Alameda Point) and the Fleet Industrial Supply Center/Alameda Annex (planned site of the Catellus Development) indicates that the US Navy operated a hazardous waste transfer, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) on the current site of Marina Village Housing, George Miller Elementary School, and Woodstock Child Development Center. The hazardous waste records available from the US EPA's web site also show wide discrepancies in the reported volumes of waste sent to the facility.

The Navy violated Hazardous Waste Facility Closure Requirements for interim status facilities following the last receipt of waste from off-site. Closure Requirements include removing all hazardous waste residues and contamination caused by hazardous waste spills. This pattern of lawlessness by the US Navy has contributed to the a significant and on-going public health hazards at Marina Village Family Housing (see following story).

Biennial Reports of Hazardous Waste Activity for the FISC/Annex indicate that the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office received hazardous wastes from Hunter's Point Shipyard Annex - Treasure Island, Naval Station Treasure Island, Oakland Naval Supply Center, Oakland Army Base, Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Westinghouse Electric Co.-Sunnyvale, Naval Air Station Moffet Field, US Air Force Base Pillar Point, US Army Presidio at San Francisco, and several facilities identified only by temporary EPA Numbers.

The US Navy biennial hazardous waste reports to the EPA show that the FISC/Annex received a total of 90, 183, 94, six and zero tons of hazardous waste from off-site facilities in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997, respectively. The interim Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the FISC/Annex became final in 1994. The final permit did not allow for the the FISC/Annex to receive shipments of hazardous waste from off-site facilities.

The US Navy's reports to EPA for the Alameda NAS contradict the FISC/Annex Reports. The 1989 report indicates that the Alameda NAS shipped 1,996.441 tons of hazardous waste to the FISC/Annex. Considerably larger that 90 tons the FISC/Annex reportedly received from all off-site facilities. The 1991 Reports for NAS Alameda shows 465.149 tons of hazardous waste was shipped to the FISC/Annex versus the 183 tons FISC/Annex reportedly received. The 1993 and 1995 reports show NAS Alameda shipping 8.759 and 0.066 tons, respectively, to the FISC/Annex.

The waste volumes reported by the US Navy are taken from Hazardous Waste Manifests which are intended to provide "cradle-to-grave" management of hazardous waste between generators and TSD facilities. Over a four year period 2,200 tons of hazardous waste shipped from Alameda NAS was not received at the FISC/Annex. The wide discrepancies in the Navy's reports is indicative of illegal hazardous waste activities that deserves further investigation by Cal-EPA and the US EPA.

Marina Village Family Housing a Look at the Future - Lawlessness led to Construction and Occupation of Residences

A number of laws were violated when Marina Village Family Housing (MVFH), transferred and occupied by Coast Guard families, was constructed by the Navy. Since 1991, environmental laws designed to protect the health of MVFH residences continue to be violated by the US Navy. EJPP cites this lawlessness as an example of what to expect from future developments at Alameda Point.

1991 Navy fails to follow the closure requirements for a hazardous waste facility.
Navy fails to petition DTSC for a change in land use for a hazardous waste property. (California Health and Safety Code Section 25221 - Requires owner to petition Department of Toxic Substance Control before building any structure for human habitation on land where there is probable cause to believe that the property would be designated as a hazardous waste property.)
Navy fails to produce a Record of Decision and Remedial Action Plan, and hold public hearings prior to selecting a proposed plan for contamination in soil and groundwater at MVFH. (California Health and Safety Code 25356.1)
1992 Federal Facility Site Restoration Agreement signed by Cal-EPA and Navy requiring the preparation of a remedial action plan for FISC Annex, including MVFH site, by June 1994.
1993 Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry (ATSDR) concludes that air samples inside newly constructed MVFH residences exceed health based standards for benzene. ATSDR recommends cleanup of benzene contaminated groundwater, and annual testing of air in residences. (Note: The Navy did not follow ATSDR recommendations to perform annual testing of indoor air and cleanup groundwater contamination. The Navy also did not follow their consultants recommendation to sample indoor air at five year intervals.)
1994 Cal-EPA requests clarification on whether MVFH site is included in the Federal Facilities Site Restoration Agreement. (Letter from C.J. Chou, Cal-EPA to US NAVY, November 1, 1994).
Navy completes Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) sampling at MVFH (Parcel 179). Two soil gas samples collected at site are inconclusive. Detection limits of 5 to 10 mg/cubic meter exceeded OSHA limits for air contaminants.
1997 Navy issues EBS documentation but fails to acknowledge results of previous investigations. Though referencing samples collected in 1987 and 1988, other investigations of groundwater and soil gas contamination prior to MVFH construction, and the subsequent 1993 indoor air sampling at MVFH are ignored. Navy violated CERCLA 120(h)(5) and 40 CFR 373 notifications requirements when leasing or transferring federal property.
1998 Navy fails to produce a five-year report for MVFH remedial action. The five-year report would have found that the toxicity of naphthalene a groundwater and indoor air contaminant has increased by a factor of 50. Naphthalene is now a chemical of concern being found at over 100 times the EPA Region IX Preliminary Remediation Goal in one MVFH residence. Based on the cancer incidents in laboratory animal studies, EPA is now considering Naphthalene to be a possible human carcinogen.
1999 Navy, US EPA, and Cal-EPA ignore MVFH groundwater contamination when contaminant maps are distributed to MVFH residences at an informational meeting.

Councilmember's Appeal of Soccer Field Use Permit Not On Goal
Planting Trees won't Address Contaminated Groundwater, Proposed Incinerator

Councilmember Kerr missed the opportunity to warn that contaminated groundwater made the use permit for a soccer field at the Alameda Point Superfund site unwise. The Soccer Field at Main Street and Atlantic Avenue has been included within the boundaries of Toxic Waste Site 4. The Navy is considering installing an incinerator near the Soccer Field as part of an effort to cleanup groundwater. The incinerators will produce toxic air emissions including phosgene and dioxin. The extremely toxic compounds result from burning chlorinated solvents.

Kerr indicated that her appeal of the use-permit approval was due in part to the failure to follow through with a May 25, 1999 planning board recommendation. This recommendation called for convening of a committee composed in part of four local residents, to determine leasing guidelines for what was called the Inner Harbor Area. Since May 25, 1999 the planning board has schedule nine public hearings for use permits in the Inner Harbor area. The soccer field is the only planning board decisions however that was appealed for a lack of leasing guidelines.

Councilmember Kerr has used contaminated groundwater to oppose a community garden. Apparently the councilmember is no longer concerned about gardening in contaminated soils. The councilmember's concerns about spectator noise have resulted in a compromise. Trees will be planted in the contaminated groundwater at the Site 4 Soccer Field.

Quote of the Month

"A response to Patrick Lynch's letter regarding the vapor barrier beneath the Marina Village Housing was passed around."

This quote appears in the DRAFT meeting minutes for the January 200 Alameda Point RAB meeting. The EPA letter that is referred to was actually responding to a request to prosecute the former base commanding officer for failing to provide notifications following the discovery of a reportable quantity release of chlordane. Since October 1997, Clearwater Revival Company has continuously requested that the US Navy respond to a concern about the spill, so it is not surprising to see the Navy's minutes ignore the chlordane contamination at Site 16 once again. After all, the minutes fail to acknowledge a similar concern that was raised at the same RAB meeting about the presence of high levels of Pentachlorophenol in validated soil sample collected from Estuary Park. Again this contamination has been repeatedly brought to the attention of the US Navy and has been repeatedly ignored. The chlordane and pentachlorophenol will continue to impact human health and the environmental as long as the Navy continues to ignore the results of their own investigations.

Enforcing the Law Unpopular at Region IX EPA - Arrest of Former NAS Alameda CO is the Moral Thing to Do

It is a criminal offense to fail to notify the National Response Center when a reportable quantity release is discovered. At the time a reportable quantity release of chlordane was discovered at Parcel 168 in 1995, the Commanding Officer, Captain James Dodge, failed to provide the required notifications. Clearwater Revival Company first raised concerns about the presence of chlordane in 1997. Three years later Clearwater Revival Company requested the US EPA initiate prosecution of the former CO.

In 1995, two soil samples were collected following removal of contaminated soil near a leaking waste oil tank. For some unexplained reason these samples were analyzed from chlorinated pesticides. Chlordane at concentrations of 560 and 850 mg/kg were found in the two samples collected in the roadway between the former Auto Hobby Shop and the new CSI Mini-Storage. Despite this finding no further action was taken at Parcel 168. Contaminated soils from the site were illegally stored leading to significant run-off. Two years later the soils were disposed of in an uncontrolled area of the base immediately adjacent to San Francisco Bay.

During this time the Navy made several misrepresentations to hazardous waste inspectors, whether knowingly or negligently, that were responding to Clearwater Revival Company's complaints about these illegal activities. The Navy also failed to disclose the release in lease contracts as required by federal law.

In December 2000 EPA responded to Clearwater Revival Company's November 2000 request for prosecution with an explanation that there is insufficient evidence of "willful misconduct" by the former CO, and there is insufficient evidence of an RQ spill. Clearwater Revival Company has responded to the EPA that the CO had "knowledge" of the release and that "willful misconduct" need not be demonstrated.

A reportable quantity release of 1 pound of chlordane has occurred, only if the two soil samples can be considered representative of contamination in 0.5 cubic yards of soil. The EPA can't win an argument that two soil samples collected ten feet apart in a leaking underground storage tank excavation are not representation of a 0.5 cubic yards of soil. For UST removals, one soil sample is commonly used to characterize 50 cubic yards of excavated soil. However, in the case of confirmation samples, the samples are intended to represent all soil remaining at the site.

While the US EPA has continued to evaluate the situation, the City of Alameda Planning Board approved a use-permit for a residence 50 feet away from the known extent of the Chlordane release. This use-permit to CSI Mini-storage was approved despite the presence of chlordane at concentrations 1,000 times EPA Region IX Preliminary Remediation Goals.

Clearwater Revival Company is pursuing criminal prosecution of the former CO not simply for failing to provide proper notifications. Rather, it is the subsequent human exposure and environmental damage that has been caused by the CO's failure to report the release that warrants criminal prosecution.

The former CO is popular. He had a street in Alameda named after him the same week he signed a Consent Decree agreeing to pay $104,000 for violations of state and federal hazardous waste laws. The EPA has the moral obligation to perform an unpopular act. The arrest and conviction of a known violator of CERCLA statutes.

Question Authority - "Will Alameda Point cleanup protect the legacy of John Muir and George Miller?"

The former site of John Muir Elementary School and the adjacent and current site of George Miller Elementary School have both been contaminated by US Navy hazardous waste operations. Though the legacy of John Muir and George Miller is "environmental protection," schools that bear their name are seriously polluted. Contact the Navy, Cal-EPA, the US EPA and the City of Alameda. Ask them: "Will Alameda Point cleanup protect the legacy of John Muir and George Miller?"

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.

December 2000 Edition
December 14, 2000