Alameda Point Environmental Report: Cleanup plan changes at waste burning area, April 5, 2013


It was the 1950s, before the environmental movement of the 1970s and the laws that followed in its wake. Hauling waste materials out to the western shoreline of Alameda Point to be burned and bulldozed into the Bay was not considered irresponsible. The “Burn Area,” as it is called, lies next to the shore near the entrance to the Oakland Estuary.
Burn Area on Site 1. San Francisco Bay to the left. Oakland Estuary to the north.

By 2009, the Navy was ready with a plan to finally remove several acres of contaminated Burn Area soil and haul it away. In 2010, testing by the cleanup contractor preparing to do the work, however, revealed additional burn residue that extends over a longer area and under the shoreline slope. The new information triggered a complete re-evaluation of the plan.

Excavation and removal at the greater depth and under the shore would drive the cost up from the original $5 million to $40 million. Fortunately for the Navy, a new and lower cost option became available just as the Navy and regulatory agencies were gathering more soil and groundwater data and discussing options.