Point Cleanup Meeting Set for this Evening

Point Cleanup Meeting Set for this Evening


Presentation will feature history of Navy’s efforts at radiological rehab

The Navy will discuss the status of its radiological investigation and cleanup at Alameda Point at the Restoration Advisory Board meeting at 6:30 p.m., this evening, Thursday, March 22. The board meets on the second floor of City Hall West, 950 West Mall Square. The confab is open to the public. 

Over the years, the Navy contaminated several areas at today’s Alameda Point with paint waste that contained radium-226, an element used to make aircraft dials glow in the dark. “The Navy has made significant progress cleaning up environmental contamination,” said Cecily Sabedra, the Navy’s environmental coordinator. “The environmental program has only one cleanup plan remaining. The public will soon have an opportunity to comment on this plan.”

The remaining cleanup plan involves Site 32 on the western reaches of the former runways. The main contaminant of concern at this site, coincidentally, is radium-226. The Navy disposed radium paint waste at the adjacent underground dump in the mid-20th century. The Navy later bulldozed some of this waste onto the nearby soil when it added a new runway. 

The entire former Navy property measures 2,807 acres, covering both land and water. Some 91 percent of this property has been transferred out of Navy ownership. Approximately $560 million have been spent on environmental cleanup. The Navy said that it will continue to monitor the cleanup remedies to ensure it meets the established environmental, health and safety goals.

“The Navy expects to transfer the remaining property in multiple, small transactions over the next four years,” said Sabedra. 

One of those land transfers, dubbed Phase 3C, will happen later this year and involve four separate parcels comprising about 15 acres. One of those parcels is Building 41, the aircraft hangar at the corner of Ferry Point Road and West Tower Avenue. Wrightspeed, a maker of electric motor systems for powering vehicles like garbage trucks and buses, now occupies this site. 

Cleaning solvent used during aircraft maintenance work contaminated the groundwater under part of Building 41. The groundwater underwent successive cleanup treatments by the Navy, first injecting biodegradable chemicals to neutralize the solvent, and then using bacteria in a process known as bioremediation. The Navy has now achieved contaminant reduction suitable for transfer to the city.

Also included in the Phase 3C land transfer will be Building 400, which is part of the hangar complex facing the southwest corner of the Seaplane Lagoon and the self-storage facility next to Main Street at West Oriskany Drive.

Richard Bangert posts stories and photos about Alameda Point on his blog at https://alamedapointenviro.com.