Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
South Bay Asbestos Area
EPA #: CAD980894885
County: Santa Clara
Congressional District: 13
Other Names: Alviso Dumping Area
On 10/13/17, this website will no longer be updated. Site information will be migrated to the new web page at: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/southbayasbestos .
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 10/15/84
Final Date: 06/10/86
The 550-acre South Bay Asbestos Area Site is located on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay. Portions of the site served as dumping areas for over 30 years. Three landfills located within the site boundaries (the Santos Landfill, the Marshland Landfill, and the Sainte Claire Corporation Landfill) received asbestos wastes from an asbestos-cement pipe manufacturing plant, located 4 miles south of the site, that operated from 1953 until 1982. Residents reportedly used waste asbestos pipe to drain excess water from their properties before curbs and gutters were installed. Several areas may have been filled with asbestos-containing soils transported in by residents to raise the elevation of their property and to improve flood protection. As a result of heavy rains in 1983, Coyote Creek flooded the site. The City of San Jose built a levee around the town to pump out the floodwater. The levee material was taken from the Raisch Quarry in southern San Jose and was later found to contain asbestos. Asbestos also was found in the Guadalupe River levee, the ring levee, and in surface soils around the town. Approximately 1,700 people live in Alviso. Most water is provided to South Bay residents through public supply systems that draw groundwater from the deep aquifer. The majority of private wells draw water from the less-protected shallow aquifer. The ring levee was located within the 100-year flood plain of the Guadalupe River and was built on portions of wetland areas adjacent to Alviso. The levee also abutted wetland areas next to a National Wildlife Refuge.
Contaminants and Risks
- Soil and Sludges
- Environmentally Sensitive Area
Past studies indicated that the air was polluted with asbestos due to the disturbance of asbestos-contaminated soils, caused primarily by heavy truck traffic. Groundwater in the shallow aquifer contained asbestos. Site soils were contaminated with asbestos. The wetland areas adjacent to Alviso were threatened. The greatest human health threat is the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. Once asbestos fibers enter the lungs, the fibers can be trapped in the body. Asbestos fibers also may be ingested through contaminated food and water.
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed through Federal, municipal, and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
This site was addressed in multiple stages: initial actions and two long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of the entire site and of the ring levee.
Initial Actions: In 1983, the Santa Clara Valley Water District removed asbestos wastes from the Guadalupe River levee. From 1986 to 1987, the EPA paved a lot at the George Mayne School and an unpaved portion of Spreckles Avenue, removed a debris pile and stabilized a trail at the Environmental Education Center, and applied polymer sealant to the ring levee. The levee since has been sprayed annually by the City of San Jose. In 1992 and 1993, the levee was sprayed twice a year. The asbestos contaminated ring levee was removed in 1993.
Entire Site: The final cleanup remedies selected to address contamination of the entire site include paving the asbestos-contaminated truck and industrial yards, wet-sweeping Alviso streets monthly, removing asbestos debris, installing landfill covers, implementing deed restrictions, and maintaining and monitoring the site. The design of the cleanup technologies was completed in 1992. Four truck yards have since been paved, and maintenance inspections and repairs take place on an annual basis. An ambient air study for asbestos was conducted in 1994 to assess the effectiveness of these cleanup efforts. Results of the study showed that there was no significant adverse health threat to the residents of Alviso due to asbestos fibers in the air. An activity based air monitoring study was conducted in 2007 to simulate activities that could generate dust. The study results showed no significant adverse health threat to residents and workers. All construction was completed in 1993. Landfill covers meet applicable clean soil cover requirements, and deed restrictions will be implemented during 1997 to control site property use. It is no longer necessary for the City of San Jose to wet-sweep the streets on a monthly basis as a means to control asbestos in street dust.
Ring Levee: The EPA had decided to build a vegetated soil cover to address the asbestos-contaminated ring levee. However, this remedy was revised via a Consent Decree signed in 1990 requiring the City to remove the contaminated levee and restore the wetlands after an alternate flood control project is devised and in place. The flood control project, which was completed in late 1995, includes Coyote Creek channel improvements. The asbestos-contaminated ring levee was removed in 1993 and replaced with a levee made with clean soil. The removal of the levee and the wetlands restoration have been accomplished.
EPA has completed remedial actions at the Site and it is in long-term operations and maintenance. Site inspections continue for the landfill covers.
EPA conducts a Five-Year Review (FYR) since some waste remains in place in the former landfill areas. The purpose of the FYR is to evaluate the current status of the remedy, access the effectiveness of institutional controls and ensure that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment.
The last Five-Year Review was conducted in 2015 and EPA concluded the remedy at South Bay Asbestos Superfund Site is protective of human health and the environment. The risk of exposure to asbestos has been lowered to acceptable levels by removing asbestos-containing material, covering landfills with asbestos-containing material, and implementing institutional controls at landfills with asbestos-containing material.
Cleanup Results to Date
Removing asbestos wastes, paving of the lots, and removing the asbestos-contaminated ring levee have reduced the potential of exposure to contaminated materials at the South Bay Asbestos Area Site.
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.
The City of San Jose and A..J. Raisch Paving Company
Documents and Reports
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
San Jose Public Library
5050 N 1st Street
Alviso, CA 95002
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
After Hours (Emergency Response)