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Soils and Sediments

Soils and sediments in the Port have been contaminated by past industrial uses, illegal dumping, oil production and pollution entering the harbor through storm drains and rivers. The Port must manage any polluted material on land and in harbor sediments so as to protect site workers, the community and the environment, and to ensure that the pollution is not simply shifted elsewhere.

The Port’s projects return contaminated areas to productive use in a safe, responsible manner – a process of beneficial re-use known as “brownfield redevelopment.” In the past 10 years the Port, working closely with state and local regulatory agencies, has removed nearly 200,000 tons of contaminated soils and sediments from the environment and disposed of them in approved landfills and recycling facilities. Several million more tons of soils and sediments have been treated on-site and isolated deep inside Port lands, in accordance with state and federal standards, to remove them from contact with air, water and people.

Program Goal
  • Remove, treat and render suitable for beneficial reuse contaminated soils and sediments in the Harbor District

The Port’s goal is to remove all of the contamination that has been identified in the Port’s land and sediments by 2010 and at the same time protect workers, the public and natural systems in the Port. Our metric to measure progress will be the cumulative total removed to date, which will be reported every year. Hazardous material abatement does not have a numerical goal because those materials are addressed as they are encountered.

Recent Accomplishments

Soil Remediation – Completed the action plan for the clean-up of the Pier A West oilfield property and signed an agreement with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to fund preparation of the environmental document. Goal: To remove 100% of identified contaminated soils by 2010.

Sediment Remediation – Disposed of 6,000 tons of sediment (undersea soil) and debris from maintenance dredging in the Back Channel, bringing the total of contaminated sediments safely re-used or disposed of to nearly half the amount known to exist in harbor waters; signed an agreement with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and started the design and environmental analysis for the cleanup of the last of the Navy’s West Basin contaminated sediments. Goal: To remove 100% of identified contaminated sediments by 2010.

In Progress

  • Institutional controls such as deed restrictions are being implemented to protect the public from contact with contaminants left in place by the Navy, energy companies and approved by the DTSC.
  • Contaminated sediments from the West Basin are being reused as structural material underneath the new Pier T terminal, thereby isolating contaminants from the environment.
  • Contaminated ground water is being monitored at sites around the Port to ensure it does not migrate to harbor waters.
  • Pre-construction surveys of land, sediments and buildings are being conducted to ensure that hazardous wastes are identified and managed appropriately.

Upcoming Activities

  • Complete conceptual design of the West Basin sediment cleanup project and begin preparation of the environmental document; this project represents the final step in the cleanup of contamination left behind on the former Naval Complex.
  • Complete the design of Pier A West remediation; the Department of Toxic Substances Control will oversee cleanup.

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