Hercules CA – Housing built on the TNT plant, not to be confused with the Housing Development on the Dynamite plant next door.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES; In the matter of:
Hercules Incorporated site, San Pablo Avenue,Hercules, California, DOCKET NO. HSA 87/88-050; REMEDIAL ACTION ORDER, Health Safety Code, sections 25355.5, 205, 206 p.18

Google Map
Google map image of the wetland, street view

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?

The same can be said for the explosives factories on what became Golden Gate Park in san Francisco. Are there buried munitions at those sites?

In 1985 the School District of the City of Richmond investigated the site to build a school at the little league field built on Section 1 in the map above which is located at the corner of San Pablo and Sycamore Avenues. They conducted a sampling of the site to find toxic substances and found TNT, DNT as well as Lead, Zinc Cadmium and other toxins on the site and although there was a small cleanup where they removed 1500 tons of materials to the I.T. Corporation Landfill in Benicia California, they decided to not build the School on the former TNT plant. Kind of hard to explain that to the parents.

Benicia is home to the Benicia Armory where housing was built on top of an artillery range in the 1990s. Link here

What is interesting is the EPA was involved in the cleanup in the 1990s and today it is not on their website, there is a message that says it was not an EPA cleanup but the site documents show that it was. Someone has removed the information from the EPA. How could that have happened?

Jared Blumenfeld was on the TIDA, the Treasure Island Development Authority to develop the former Naval Base that is an EPA Superfund site for nuclear radiation and while he was there the city put homeless people onto the barracks of the site and they built little league fields on the nuclear radiation site. He went on to be the head of the EPA for the Western District which includes California and is now in charge of the Environment for the State of California working for the Governor. Perhaps he knows who removed the site from the EPA Superfund lists?

My question is, what other sites are also not listed anymore? Why aren’t the munitions factors in San Francisco listed? There must have been some pollution caused by the two exploding munitions factories at what became Golden Gate Park? Are there munitions still buried there?

Envirostor page

Envirostor, the state of California is only interested in the so called Wetlands area which is not really a wetlands it is a drainage ditch which they turned into a “wetlands ” to keep people off of it. In the map above it is area 3 and 4.

Note that they say they excavated 350 yards of contaminated soil from this location but it is an area of 2 acres going down 2 feet in depth is 19369 cubic yards where each yard equals 1.2 tons of soil. So the numbers do not add up.

Why didn’t they just excavate all of the soil down to the bedrock? Just to be safe?

The Land use Restrictions include:

ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED WHICH DISTURB THE REMEDY AND MONITORING SYSTEMS WITHOUT APPROVAL
DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED
HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED
LAND USE COVENANT
NO EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOILS WITHOUT AGENCY REVIEW AND APPROVAL
NOTIFY AFTER CHANGE OF PROPERTY OWNER
PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED
RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED

Potential Contaminants of Concern

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE
COPPER AND COMPOUNDS
DINITROTOLUENE MIXTURE
LEAD
ZINC

2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE is TNT
DINITROTOLUENE MIXTURE is DNT which is also an explosive but its tolerance in the environment is 1/6 that of TNT. Both chemicals can cause cancer.

So naturally they built housing on the site.

One thought on “Hercules CA – Housing built on the TNT plant, not to be confused with the Housing Development on the Dynamite plant next door.

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