The Alamedan: Point tour highlights toxic cleanup efforts, July 14, 2014


This year’s tour highlighting toxic cleanup efforts at Alameda Point forsook the technological whiz-bang of prior years’ cross-base bus rides for a more prosaic sight: A gaggle of Caspian terns perched on a sand bar in a restored wetland area that’s part of the 624-acre chunk of the former air station the Navy handed off to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in June.

The two dozen or so regular Point watchers who attended Saturday’s tour – dubbed the “toxic tour” by veterans of the annual two-hour bus ride – posed for a photograph. Then they got back on the bus, where several raised questions and offered comments that laid plain their continuing concerns about the adequacy of the Navy’s efforts to deal with a laundry list of toxins it dumped, spilled and buried during more than half a century on the Island, turning the base into a federal Superfund site.

This year’s tour comes at a propitious time for the Navy. The surprise announcement Saturday that it has completed its handoff of 624 acres of the Point to the VA means that the vast majority of the former Navy base is off its hands. In 2013, Alameda got 1,379 acres – which is a little less than half the land and water Alameda Point occupies – and the city has moved swiftly in its attempt to kick-start revitalization efforts.