Camp Parks which is located next to Dublin California is where the US Navy built a railway track to move a device using Cobalt 60 to irradiate Phantom Sheep. This is part of a series of articles where I will demonstrate the use of radiation at various locations in the San Francisco Area to inform the public of just what they were and still are being exposed to on a daily basis.
441 acres of Hercules California is contaminated with Explosives 41 acres of that area were contaminated with TNT and DNT, the rest with Dynamite and Black Powder. The site blew up in 1929 but was rebuilt and continued operations to 1960. The plant was the largest manufacturer of high explosives for World War I used by the Allies in the war. It was the largest source in the world at the time and it was used in World War II.
Munitions plants built bunkers underground to store their production and if there was an explosion the direction of the force would be up instead of spreading across the ground as it did in the Berkeley Explosion which wiped out the glass of San Francisco 8 miles away. But when the EPA came along and cleaned up the site, they only excavated 24 inches down and deemed the site safe enough to build housing on the site which is what we have today. What if this site had the bunkers? Has anyone checked to see if the contamination goes further into the soil?
“A witness near the California Powder Works reported seeing a huge column of white smoke shoot hundreds of feet into the sky seconds before he was knocked down and rendered senseless for several minutes.”
The disaster in Beirut was only a few days ago.
1869 Alfred Noble patented his invention Dynamite which is a safe method of using Nitroglycerin which had an unfortunate tendency to explode when subjected to a large shock. Dynamite made it relatively safe. The California Powerworks had the patent and started manufacturing Dynamite in Santa Cruz and in San Francisco on or near what became Golden Gate Park. There was another plant called the Hercules plant (Hercules in Greek Lore killed Giants) and so they operated facilities near each other which had a tendency to explode.
Explosions were common in munitions plants and after the second blast in San Francisco on or near Golden Gate Park that blew out the glass from downtown San Francisco to Cliff House, the city fathers decided that instead of replacing the glass in the buildings of San Francisco every time one of these things lit up, they would send the plants to Berkeley across the Bay to what is now Albany California at the Polo Grounds. The plant blew up three times and rebuilt each time until the big blast.
The following is the official record of the incident. Holden, Edward S. “Powder Explosion at West Berkeley, July 9, 1892.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 4, no. 25 (1892): 187-90. Accessed August 8, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40667068.
“”The Giant Powder Works plant, near West Berkeley, a suburban place on the northeastern coast of the bay, about eight miles from San Francisco, was blown up at nine o’clock A. M. on the ninth of July, and it is believed to be the most extensive explosion of the kind that has ever happened. Being situated on a spit of land projecting out into the bay there was a free course for air disturbance to the city, and other surroundings on the southern and western side of the bay, and windows were crushed for a distance of ten miles where no elevated land intervened. The air disturbance followed channels where the physical formation permitted horizontal flow, and even streets in the city seemed to have guided the lines of greatest effect. Continue reading “The Berkeley Blast – 500 tons of Dynamite that blasted out the glass of San Francisco 8 miles away”→
What happens when you build a housing development and then 6 years later you find unexploded artillery shells on the property? Perhaps it might have been a clue that the property was once called the Benicia Arsenal and that during World War II it was an artillery range?
Prior to 1990, the Tourtelot Property consisted of approximately 220 acres of undeveloped grassland situated in the northwest corner of the former Benicia Arsenal. The Army leased the Tourtelot Property from 1944 to 1960 for artillery testing, ordnance and explosives (OE) demilitarization, and demolition of damaged and obsolete munitions. In 1990, Granite Management Corporation (Granite) began grading the site for home construction. In 1996, Granite found concrete-filled howitzer shells and live ordnance on the site. Granite then retained the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to characterize the site for OE and chemical impacts to soil and groundwater. Contaminants on the Tourtelot Property included: petroleum hydrocarbons; polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; dioxins/furans (combustion by-products); volatile organic compounds; trinitrotoluene; and OE. Continue reading “Benicia CA – TOURTELOT PROPERTY (48970005) Housing on unexploded shells on Gunnery range”→
The property is owned by the Ohlone Community College District and is located southeast of the intersection of Mowry Avenue and Cherry Street in Newark, Alameda County, California. The Site is southeast of the George M. Silliman Recreation Complex, south of an Agilent Tech facility and Cherry Street, west of a drainage channel and north of an existing railroad line. A High School is located to the north across Cherry Street. The site has been used for agriculture since at least 1969. The Ohlone Community College District has consolidated soil containing pesticides above residential cleanup goals from the northern 31-acres of the Site into a 25-acre consolidation area within the southern 50 acres of the Site. The northern portion of the Site that was cleaned up to residential standards has been developed into a community college. The southern parcel with remain in agricultural use.
DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED ELDER CARE CENTER PROHIBITED HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED LAND USE COVENANT NO EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOILS WITHOUT AGENCY REVIEW AND APPROVAL NOTIFY PRIOR TO SUBSURFACE WORK PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED
The Property consists of a 2.3 acre lot that is being redeveloped as multi-family residences. Soil gas at the Site has been impacted by former dry cleaning operations (Henry Miller Cleaners, Marshall Steel Cleaners, and Payless Cleaners) that used volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE or perc) in its cleaning processes. The dry cleaning businesses occupied the southern portion of the onsite building and operated between approximately 1965 and 1990. Continue reading “Fremont – PERALTA CROSSING (60002284)”→
The Barbary Coast Steel operated a steel manufacturing plant on this site from 1987 to 1991. Judson Steel was a previous owner since 1882. The primary use of the site was storing and melting scrap iron to produce reinforcing bars. IKEA purchased the property and signed Prospective Purchasers Agreement (PPA) with DTSC for future site development. As part of future development IKEA upgraded the cap. The IKEA store opened for business in May 2000. Continue reading “Emeryville CA – IKEA (FORMER BARBARY COAST) (01440005)”→
The Site is the proposed location of a bikeway connecting Maritime Street in Oakland and Shellmound Street in Emeryville. The proposed area was historically used for industrial, commercial or vehicle transportation corridors.
(a) A residence, including any mobile home or factory built housing, constructed or installed for use as residential human habitation. (b) A hospital for humans. (c) A public or private School for persons under 18 years old. (d) A day care center for children
POTENTIAL CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN
Hazardous substances, including arsenic at 0.39 ppm, mercury at 2.1 ppm, lead at 190 ppm, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHd) at 1,100 ppm remain at the Property above levels acceptable for unrestricted land use.
Note this was cleaned up to this standard which is fine for industrial use.
The site was formerly part of the Judson Steel Corp. founded in 1882. Judson Steel mainly used the site for storage and disposal of slag material. Metals (lead, chromium, etc) were present in the soil and hydrocarbons and volatile organics appear to be migrating via groundwater from surrounding properties. The source of the hydrocarbon contamination in the groundwater is believed to be the former PIE site located to the north. Under the authority allowed by the Polanco Bill, the City of Emeryville Redevelopment Agency granted liability immunity to Marriott Corporation.
ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED WHICH DISTURB THE REMEDY AND MONITORING SYSTEMS WITHOUT APPROVAL ASPHALT COVER NOT TO BE DISTURBED WITHOUT APPROVAL DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED ELDER CARE CENTER PROHIBITED HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED LAND USE COVENANT NO EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOILS WITHOUT AGENCY REVIEW AND APPROVAL NO OIL OR GAS EXTRACTION AT ANY DEPTH NOTIFY PRIOR TO SUBSURFACE WORK PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED RAISING OF FOOD PROHIBITED RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED Continue reading “Emeryville CA – SHELLMOUND VENTURE PROJECT (01330039)”→
The history of the site included industrial usage of the various parcels including Elementis Pigments at 4650 Shellmound Street, McKinley Property at 5500 Shellmound Street, and the Sepulveda Property at 5600 Shellmound Street (Shellmound Properties). Since 1929, Elementis Pigments produced iron oxide for paint pigments and other uses. Sherwin Williams owned the McKinley and Sepulveda properties until 1965 and 1955, respectively. Sherwin Williams operated a lime and sulfur plant and an insecticide and spray plant. Other usages included a sign shop, a photo shop, a machine shop, and commercial offices at the McKinley Property. A truck and trailer storage yard and equipment rentals used the Sepulveda property. The southern portion of the site includes the former Myers Drum site which historically was used for drum cleaning and recycling. Continue reading “Emeryville CA – SOUTH BAYFRONT PROJECT (01890019)”→