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

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


Benicia CA – TOURTELOT PROPERTY (48970005) Housing on unexploded shells on Gunnery range

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?

Site History

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”