2020 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 18:23:42 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] VOCs, REUSE: "Solvent Cleanup Completed at [Alameda] Point" (CA)

by Richard Bangert
Alameda Sun (CA)
December 17, 2020

A liquid solvent that is able to dissolve other substances can run, but it can’t hide from investigators, even 20 feet below ground. A toxic cleaning solvent called trichloroethane (TCE) was used to degrease metal parts in industrial operations at the Navy’s aircraft repair facility. When this solvent leaks into soil and groundwater, as it did in Building 5 at Alameda Point, the odorless vapors can cause cancer and other ill health effects to occupants of buildings above as it evaporates. 

The actual process of cleaning up the contamination, while time-consuming, is not the real problem. The real challenge is finding it, measuring it, and calculating what the safe cleanup level is for future use of the building, in this case commercial. 

The Navy has spent some 30 years, starting before the base closed, mapping the geology and groundwater flow, drilling wells, taking water samples, plotting the extent of contamination, creating 3-D models of the contamination, creating health risk models, and employing a variety of cleanup methods. In November 2020, the Navy reported that the air quality in Building 5, covering almost a million square feet, is now safe for future workers.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director
Center for Public Environmental Oversight
A project of the Pacific Studies Center
P.O. Box 998, Mountain View, CA 94042
Voice/Fax: 650-961-8918

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