File #: 2016-2493   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 2/2/2016
Title: Presentation on Status Report of Environmental Conditions and Clean-up at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Map of Installation Restoration Sites at Alameda Point, 2. Exhibit 2 - Map of Navy Conveyance Phases, 3. Presentation, 4. Presentation - REVISED


Presentation on Status Report of Environmental Conditions and Clean-up at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)




To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council


From: Elizabeth D. Warmerdam, Interim City Manager


Re: Presentation on Status Report of Environmental Conditions and Clean-up at Alameda Point




Alameda Point was an active United States Navy (Navy) base from 1940 to 1997. While active, as many as 16,000 to 18,000 personnel worked at the Naval Air Station (NAS Alameda). It was selected for closure as part of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) operational closure round, which occurred in April 1997.


Operations at the base included aircraft maintenance, automotive repair, storage tanks and piping (diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel), painting, paint stripping, machine shops, and a skeet range. Localized areas across Alameda Point became contaminated with residues from these activities. The contaminants include fuels, metals, solvents, PCBs, pesticides, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, and, in a few instances, radioluminescent paint residues.  The Navy is responsible for the clean-up of contamination associated with its former activities at Alameda Point and has been actively investigating and remediating the property for the last 15+ years, during which time it has spent over $500 million on these efforts.  The City’s zoning, infrastructure and development plans have been, and will continue to be, coordinated with the Navy’s clean-up levels and schedule.  The Navy can only transfer the property to the City once the environmental regulators agree that the property has been cleaned to federal standards.


This report provides an overview of the environmental clean-up process at Alameda Point and highlights issues with a few key sites that are undergoing clean-up and/or are scheduled for transfer to the City.  The City’s environmental consultant, Peter Russell of Russell Resources, who has been the City’s independent environmental consultant and advisor at Alameda Point for the last 18 years, will make the presentation. Dr. Russell reviews all pertinent environmental documents and actively participates with the Navy and environmental regulators in decision-making discussions for the remediation process.  Dr. Russell also attends the Restoration Advisory Board meetings, which is the Navy’s community advisory committee and includes discussions among the Navy, environmental regulators, and community residents and stakeholders.




To evaluate the nature and extent of the contaminated areas, and to complete any needed remediation, the Navy conducts two parallel environmental programs at Alameda Point: (1) the Petroleum Program, and (2) the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Program. At locations where petroleum and CERCLA contamination are co-located, both are sometimes addressed in the CERCLA Program.


Petroleum Program

The Navy’s cleanup of petroleum at Alameda Point is overseen by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board). The Petroleum Program includes 160 sites with almost 300 individual environmental units (fuel storage tanks, piping, sumps, etc.). About 150 of the Petroleum Program sites have completed investigation with remediation as needed, and have been closed. Roughly ten of the remaining sites are currently being evaluated for closure. The Navy plans to close all of the Petroleum Program sites, although some closures will not be completed until after transfer to the City. The City participates in the Navy and Water Board’s work on the Petroleum Program as an observer, providing comments on proposed actions as appropriate.


CERCLA Program

The federal CERCLA Program, commonly known as Superfund, addresses most other types of contamination in soil, groundwater, and soil gas.  Petroleum and petroleum products are generally excluded. The CERCLA Program’s BRAC Cleanup Team (BCT) is made up of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the Water Board, and the Navy. In certain instances, the California Department of Public Health provides technical support to DTSC’s participation in the BCT.  The City participates in the BCT’s work as an observer, providing comments on proposed actions as appropriate.


Thirty-four Installation Restoration (IR) Sites (sites designated by the Department of Defense for cleanup of contamination from past operations) are in Alameda Point’s CERCLA Program: 18 IR Sites are now closed. Active remediation is complete at nine more sites, but full closure will occur after natural processes lower contaminants to target levels and/or land-use and closure documentation is finalized. All of the IR Sites within the land owned by the City are closed or in the natural attenuation phase of remediation.  Exhibit 1 depicts the IR sites and Exhibit 2 presents a map of the Navy’s conveyance phases. One IR Site is currently in remediation and the BCT is completing clean-up plans for the remaining six sites. Most IR Sites are grouped into Operable Units (OUs) for collective investigation and cleanup. Five of the six sites that are still in the planning stage are clustered in two OUs (OU-2B and OU-2C). Four key CERCLA sites (IR Site 1, IR Site 17, OU-2B, and OU-2C) are discussed in more detail below.


IR Site 1

IR Site 1 is the former landfill in the northwest corner of Alameda Point. It operated from 1943 until 1956, when the base began using the former landfill in the southwest corner of Alameda Point (IR Site 2). Active remediation has been completed for IR Site 2 and for soil at IR Site 1. Active remediation of IR Site 1 groundwater is tentatively complete, but is subject to further sampling. The cleanup of IR Site 1 includes groundwater treatment.  Containment of the waste and contaminated soil was completed at both landfills. Excavation with off-site disposal of the landfill contents would have been prohibitively expensive. As with IR Site 2, the Navy is establishing native vegetation during the rainy season on IR Site 1’s new surface which creates a natural soil cap.  Land-use controls will allow passive recreational use of the former landfill sites.


IR Site 17

IR Site 17 is Seaplane Lagoon. Most of the sediment contamination (metals, PCBs, and pesticides) at IR Site 17 came from industrial wastewater that the Navy routinely disposed into storm drain lines prior to the mid-1970s. The Navy has successfully dredged and off-hauled this contaminated sediment, which was located around storm drain outfalls at Seaplane Lagoon’s two northern corners. During the dredging process, the Navy encountered 51 items (most are smaller than a quarter), which had small amounts of radioluminescent paint on them. These items, which appear not to have originated from the outfalls, were found at the rate of about one item per 2,000 cubic yards of sediment (or four per acre), making them very sparse. They are potentially present elsewhere in Seaplane Lagoon sediment. To ensure any dredging of Seaplane Lagoon is protective of health and the environment, the BCT is currently preparing a revision to the CERCLA Record of Decision, or ROD, which requires dredging to be conducted consistent with a Sediment Management Plan (SMP) and work plan that are acceptable to the environmental regulators.



OU-2B is the formerly industrialized area along Atlantic Avenue and includes IR Sites 3 (Abandoned Fuel Storage Area), 4 (Aircraft Engine Facility), 11 (Engine Test Cell), and 21 (Ship Fitting and Engine Repair). The planned excavation of contaminated soil (metals and solvents) in OU-2B is complete. Two small areas of OU-2B, totaling about an acre, have land-use controls restricting residential use due to residual metals in soil. These areas were not excavated because they are in soil beneath Buildings 360 (IR Site 4) and 398 (IR Site 3). The Navy has completed initial efforts to remediate widespread solvent contamination in OU-2B groundwater, and the BCT is currently planning the additional groundwater treatment that is needed. Land-use restrictions apply to the portions of OU-2B over the solvent plume and a 100-foot buffer zone around the plume. Ground-floor residential use is prohibited, and buildings will need vapor-intrusion control measures. The most significant area of petroleum contamination at Alameda Point was within OU-2B. Most of the petroleum in OU-2B soil and groundwater has been successfully cleaned up under the Petroleum Program. Active remediation of OU-2B is expected to be complete in 2021. IR Site 3, which contains one of the two metals-restricted areas and a fringe of the plume’s buffer zone, is included in the Phase 2 transfer.



OU-2C is the formerly industrialized area along West Tower Avenue and includes IR Sites 5 (Air Rework Facility), 10 (Missile Rework Facility), and 12 (Power Plant). The most significant impact is solvents in groundwater beneath and in the general vicinity of Building 5. The Navy has been successful with initial efforts to remediate the groundwater. Additional groundwater treatment is being designed to achieve groundwater quality that is acceptable for unrestricted commercial and industrial use. A land-use restriction prevents residential use in certain areas and requires maintenance of Building 5’s floor slab to limit access to underlying contaminated soil.


Within OU-2C, Buildings 5 and 400 formerly housed shops that worked with radioluminescent paint, primarily to refurbish instrument dials, buttons, switches, and other items. Cleanup of the low-level radiological residues on floors, walls, etc. is nearing completion. Wastewater originating in these shops left traces of radioluminescent paint in some storm drain lines and an industrial waste line beneath and outside of these buildings. The Navy has cleaned some of the storm drain lines already, and they no longer contain objectionable radiological residues. The BCT is in discussions about what the ultimate disposition of industrial waste lines (IWLs) will be.  The City is optimistic that the Navy and regulators will decide to remove at least the segments of the IWLs that conflict with the City’s planned backbone infrastructure. Active remediation of OU-2C is expected to be complete in 2021.


In spite of the complexity of the environmental issues at Alameda Point, the City and its own independent experts work closely and carefully with the numerous State and Federal regulators and the Navy on the Alameda Point clean-up.  This is to ensure that, once transferred to the City, new development at Alameda Point neither poses a threat to human health and the environment, nor creates a long-term liability for the City. 


In 2013, Phase 1 of the Alameda Point conveyance (1,380 acres, 870 acres of which are submerged lands) was transferred to the City subject to approval by all State and Federal environmental regulators.  The Navy, with approval from those same regulators and pending City Council acceptance, plans on transferring another 183 acres in March 2016 and the remaining 263 acres to the City in two subsequent phases over the next four to six years.




This report is for information only.  There is no financial impact to the General Fund or Base Reuse Fund budgets.




This item is for informational purposes only and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3).




This report is for information only.


Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director



1.                     Map of Installation Restoration Sites at Alameda Point

2.                     Map of Navy Conveyance Phases

3.                     PowerPoint Presentation on Status Report of Environmental Conditions and Clean-up at Alameda Point