Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
EPA #: CA1170090087
County: San Francisco
City: San Francisco
Congressional District: 08
Other Names: Treasure Island Hunters Point Annex Triple A Shipyard-Hunters Point Division Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
U.S. Navy Website: http://www.bracpmo.navy.mil/brac_bases/california/former_shipyard_hunters_point.html
ARC Ecology Website: http://www.arcecology.org/HuntersPoint.shtml
On this page
Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Currently on the Final NPL
Proposed Date: 07/14/89
Final Date: 11/21/89
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard (also known as the Treasure Island Naval Station-Hunters Point Annex) is located in southeastern San Francisco, California, adjacent to San Francisco Bay in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The Shipyard consists of 866 acres, 420 acres on land and 446 acres under water in San Francisco Bay. To better organize the investigation and cleanup, as well as to facilitate future reuse, the Shipyard has been divided into several parcels.
Prior to European settlement of California, historians estimate that seven to ten thousand Native Americans inhabited San Francisco Bay Region, and believe the Ohlone people settled in the Hunters Point area due to the availability of seasonal hunting and fish. Hunters Point was originally a private, commercial dry dock facility from 1869 until December 29, 1939, when the Navy purchased the property. The natural landscape of Hunters Point was significantly changed by extensive grading and flattening of the rocky hills and filling of the shoreline areas during the World War II and postwar periods. From 1945 until 1974, the Navy predominantly used the shipyard as a naval submarine and ship repair facility. At the height of operations, approximately 8,000 civilian workers were employed at the Shipyard. In addition to serving as a repair facility, the Shipyard was also the site of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) from 1948 to 1969. The purposes of the NRDL included radiological decontamination of ships exposed to atomic weapons testing as well as research and experiments on radiological decontamination, the effect of radiation on living organisms, and the effects of radiation on materials. In 1974, the Navy ceased shipyard operations, placing the Shipyard in industrial reserve and transferring control of the property to the Navy Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair in San Francisco. From May 1976 to June 1986, Triple A Machine Shop, Inc. leased most of the Shipyard from the Navy and operated a commercial ship repair facility.
Cleanup Program at the Shipyard:
In 1989, EPA placed the Shipyard on its National Priority List (NPL) which is a list of Federal Superfund Sites in the United States. There are approximately 1,300 Superfund sites on the NPL nationwide. The cleanup program at the Shipyard is conducted by the Navy pursuant to the Installation Restoration Program, a federally funded program established by the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify, investigate, and control the migration of hazardous substances at military and other DOD facilities. The Shipyard is being prepared for transfer under a program called Base Realignment and Closure or BRAC.
A Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA), which governs the site cleanup process at the Shipyard, was signed September 28, 1990 with the final, revised version of the FFA signed in January 1992. Signatories to the FFA consist of the Navy, EPA, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Under the FFA, the Navy is the lead agency responsible for the investigation and cleanup of the Shipyard in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). CERCLA is also known as the Federal Superfund Law. EPA is the lead regulatory agency. EPA, along with its partner regulatory agencies at California EPA, oversees and enforces Navy compliance with CERCLA to ensure the cleanup at the Shipyard is protective of human health and environment.
Contaminants and Risks
- Surface Water
- Soil and Sludges
At many locations throughout the Shipyard, groundwater, bay sediments, and soil are contaminated with petroleum fuels, pesticides, heavy metals (such as lead and zinc), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, vinyl chloride and carbon tetrachloride. Much of the soil at the Shipyard originated from grading and flattening the nearby hills containing rock and soil known as Serpentinite. Serpentinite rock contains naturally occurring asbestos and metals such as iron, nickel, zinc, and manganese. Likely due to the activities of the NRDL, radionuclides such as Radium-226, Cesium-137, and Strontium-90 have been detected in low concentrations in soil and inside stormdrains at the Shipyard.
Risks primarily arise when people accidentally ingest or come in direct contact with contaminated soils, dust, sediments, surface water, or groundwater. Another important risk comes from VOCs gases evaporating from underground VOC-contaminated soil and groundwater. These VOC gases can migrate and accumulate inside buildings where they can be inhaled.
Currently, the Shipyard is closed to the general public with exceptions for special events. The Hunters Point Shipyard Artists along with a few other tenants are allowed to occupy certain buildings at the Shipyard. Residential areas of San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods surround the Shipyard. The Navy’s cleanup operations, especially soil excavation and trucking of soil, are under strict requirements to minimize the creation of dust. In addition, although there are over 200 groundwater wells at the Shipyard used to monitor the location, flow direction and concentration of groundwater contamination, there are no wells used for drinking water or irrigation purposes.
Who is Involved
The Navy is the current owner and the lead cleanup agency for the Shipyard. A Base Closure Team or “BCT” which includes representatives from the Navy, EPA and California EPA conduct overall management of the cleanup work. California EPA is represented by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. As the future landowner, City of San Francisco representatives attend BCT meetings and comment on Navy documents but they have no direct regulatory authority over Shipyard cleanup under CERCLA or the FFA.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
The investigation and cleanup of contamination at the Shipyard is a multi-phase project that has been on-going for more than 20 years. Investigations and testing of soil and groundwater at the Shipyard are targeted at known industrial operational areas and where Navy records indicate a known or potential release of hazardous substances. While these investigations are ongoing, the Navy has carried out dozens of early cleanup actions across the Shipyard to address known soil and groundwater contamination. All cleanup work has been under the approval and review of the regulatory team. As of mid-2012, these early cleanup actions have resulted in the following:
· 20,000 dump trucks of chemical contaminated soil removed from the Shipyard
· 4,000 dump trucks of radiological contaminated soil removed from the Shipyard
· 20,000 dump trucks of clean fill imported to the Shipyard, and
· 23 miles of sewer and storm drain pipelines removed.
Generally, the Navy digs up and removes soil and debris containing chemical and radiological contaminants above the cleanup levels established for the Shipyard. These cleanup levels are based on human and ecological risk assessment for the long-term protection of human and ecological use of the Shipyard in the future. Contamination that is dug up is transported by truck or rail to approved off-site landfills in California or in nearby States.
Soils with unsafe levels of underground VOC gases are removed using a gas extraction system called soil vapor extraction. Contaminants in the gases are then removed using charcoal filters.
In addition, the Navy has successfully undertaken significant early cleanup actions at several areas with groundwater contamination. The primary groundwater treatment technology being used by the Navy is chemical degradation using zero valent iron (ZVI) and biological degradation using bioremediation. ZVI and biological substrate are injected into the contaminated groundwater to break apart the contaminants into non-toxic components such as salts (e.g. sodium chloride and potassium chloride), carbon dioxide, and water. To date, these technologies have successfully reduced concentrations of the solvents to achieve the required groundwater cleanup levels. However, there are still several more groundwater plumes in the Shipyard to cleanup especially in Parcels C and E.
After completing early cleanup actions and upon the completion of detailed investigations, the Navy then obtains input from the community on the final cleanup action at each parcel. The regulatory team at EPA and California EPA must agree with these final cleanup actions before the Navy is allowed to proceed. The final remedial actions usually consist of cleaning up the last locations of known Navy contamination and then placement of a “durable cover” over the parcel. Durable covers consist of two feet of clean soil or an asphalt layer. The durable covers will prevent human contact with underlying Shipyard soils which contain serpentine rock and other imported soils with ubiquitous metal concentrations.
The proposed final cleanup action at Parcel E-2 is different in that the Navy is removing soil hot spots (i.e. soil with higher concentrations of contaminants) and then covering the entire parcel, including the large landfill, with a liner material, a minimum of two feet of clean cover soils and vegetation.
Once the Navy has finished its final phase of cleanup work and the regulatory team agrees the work is complete, the Navy is allowed to transfer ownership of the parcel to the City of San Francisco. It is important to note that the final remedies in each parcel also consist of long-term Operation and Maintenance (“O&M”) requirements for the landfill cover, the durable covers, long-term groundwater monitoring and enforcement of Institutional Controls (also known as Land Use Controls). Land Use Controls are used to ensure that future development and uses at the Shipyard remain consistent with and protective of the final cleanup actions.
The City of San Francisco has decided to not pursue “early transfer” where the City and its developer partner would conduct the last phase of the cleanup (i.e. placement of the durable covers). Therefore, each parcel at the Shipyard will be transferred to the City of San Francisco after all final cleanup actions are completed by the Navy and certified by the regulatory team.
After a parcel is transferred to the City, the EPA and California EPA regulators will continue to have a significant role. The regulatory team will review and inspect the redevelopment work to be carried out by the City and its development partners work at the Shipyard. The role of the regulatory team will be especially important during the demolition of the old Navy buildings, the removal of the building foundations, and any other major ground-disturbing work. If any contamination is discovered during the redevelopment work, the regulatory team will ensure that appropriate cleanup actions are taken to protect human health and the environment.
Cleanup Results to Date
At the Shipyard, EPA measures the Navy’s progress based on four major milestones as follows:
- Investigation Complete: The detailed testing of soil and groundwater in a parcel is done and approved by the regulatory team.
- Final Remedy Decision: The Navy’s recommended final cleanup action for a parcel is approved by the regulatory team and documented in Record of Decision (ROD).
- Final Cleanup Action Complete: The Navy has finished all final cleanup work in a parcel and the regulatory team has approved of the Navy’s work.
- Transfer to the City of San Francisco: The Navy legally transfers title of a parcel of property to the City of San Francisco.
- Investigation Complete: 95% done
- Final Remedy Decision: 70% done
- Final Cleanup Action Complete: 30% done
- Transfer of Parcel to the City of San Francisco: 8% done.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
Because the Hunters Point Shipyard is federally owned property, the Navy is the party responsible for the investigation and cleanup.
Documents and Reports
Public Meetings: A Technical Review Committee was formed in 1988. The committee was converted to a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in 1993 to include not only local, state, and Federal agency representatives, but community group representatives and local residents as well. The RAB met monthly until January 2009. In 2009, the Navy published a Notice of Intent to dissolve the RAB and instituted a 30-day public comment period. A memorandum recommending dissolution of the RAB was submitted and approved by the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy on December 23, 2009.
The Navy continues to conduct many activities to keep the Bayview-Hunters Point community and general public up-to-date on the cleanup work at the Shipyard. The Navy uses a variety of venues including public meetings every two months, and presentations at neighborhood meetings, events, clubs and institutions. The Navy also routinely issues fact sheets and conducts regular bus tours of the Shipyard. All of the Navy’s community involvement activities are outlined in the Navy’s Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Community Involvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is updated every 3 years. Navy’s Community Involvement Manager can be reached by phone at (415) 295‐4645 or email at email@example.com. Information on the cleanup program is also available on the Navy website at www.bracpmo.navy.mil.
EPA and the Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) contractor hosted a Bayview-Hunters Point community technical workshop on November 17, 2014. The purpose of the workshop was to confirm concerns identified in the 2014 Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Community Involvement Plan (CIP) and the adjacent Yosemite Slough Removal Site's CIP. The TASC representative facilitated a discussion to add issues and priorities the list in order to develop a Technical Assistance Needs Assessment (TANA). The 2015 TANA draft was shared with interested community members and finalized. It is listed above in the "Documents and Report" section. The document contains background information and recommendations on how to best meet the needs identified. TASC is working presently to develop and execute task activities to help meet the needs identified.
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
City of San Francisco Main Library
Science, Technical, & Govt. Doc. Rm.
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
U.S. Navy Hunters Point Shipyard Site Trailer
690 Hudson Ave
San Francisco, CA 94124
Anna B. Weden Library Under Renovation until 2012
The following link is to the U.S. Navy's web page for information on their Hunters Point remedial activities:
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
San Diego, CA 92108
After Hours (Emergency Response)