The City of Alameda, Catellus, and Warmington Homes are currently building new housing on a brownfield along Industrial Highway, as Atlantic Avenue was known in the past. The housing project, Bayport, is being built on a filled marsh that was used in the past by local industry as a garbage dump. The property was later turned into a commercial airport. At the onset of World War II, housing was constructed on the southern portion of the the property to house thousands of workers at a major ship building plant. The remainder of the property was used by Sharpe Army Depot and after WWII the US Navy.


When individual Bayport homes are sold, state law appears to require the specific address of each home be placed in an on-line database to warn prospective property purchasers of the deed restriction requirements.

"CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 25220.(f) The department shall maintain a list of all recorded land use restrictions, including deed restrictions, recorded pursuant to Sections 25200, 25200.10, 25202.5, 25222.1, 25229, 25230, 25355.5, and 25398.7. The list shall, at a minimum, provide the street address, or, if a street address is not available, an equivalent description of location for a rural location or the latitude and longitude, of each property. The department shall update the list as new deed restrictions are recorded. The department shall make the list available to the public, upon request, and shall make the list available on the department's Internet website. The list shall also be incorporated into the list of sites compiled pursuant to Section 65962.5 of the Government Code." (emphasis added)

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control's (DTSC's) on-line Deed Restriction database currently provides the address for East Housing, the brownfield on which Bayport is being built, as 950 West Mall Square. This address is more than 1 mile away from East Housing and defeats the purpose of DTSC providing this information on the internet.


DTSC's database cites the release of arsenic and "other organic solids" that remain on the site. The deed restriction on Bayport requires compliance with the City of Alameda's Marsh Crust Excavation Ordinance. Everytime a property owner digs into the marsh crust contamination layer, a permit, requiring thousands of dollars of reports, must be obtained from the City of Alameda .

The Department of Public Works has prepared a map showing the marsh crust contamination layer at depths below high tide, or Mean Higher High Water (MHHW), throughout much of the Bayport development. The NOAA tidal station at Alameda Point indicates that MHHW is 6.36 feet above sea level (NAVD). Pre-development elevations in East Housing ranged from 7 to 10 feet above NAVD. According to the Public Works Department map, contamination may be present at depths as shallow as six inches.


DTSC's Deed Restriction database contains this information on East Housing:

"June 25, 2001 - Certification that remedial action for East Housing is complete. 63 acres cleaned up."

In June 2001, DTSC certified remedial action for East Housing was complete, when DTSC knew soil sample results from April of that year indicated that further remedial action was required. Over $4 million dollars was subsequently spent to remove soil contaminated by chlordane in the spring and summer of 2002. Chlordane is a termite control compound that has been banned from manufacturing and use in the United States due to health impacts in residents on properties where it has been applied.

A July 2003 DTSC Fact Sheet states:

"A supplemental soil analysis was conducted in April 2001 ... there were some detections of PAHs and Organochlorine Pesticides that were above background or health risk goals. To remediate these hazards, 29,270 tons of impacted soil was excavated and disposed of off-site between April and August of 2002."

Since DTSC certified Corrective Action at the Bayport development site was complete in 2001, over 1,200 trucks removed 29,270 tons of contaminated soil, after the soil had been excavated and placed in poorly covered piles. Air samples show dust standards were exceeded as the wind and vehicle tires redistributed this contaminated soil throughout and beyond the site boundaries. DTSC acknowledges that they did not visit the site once during the four month period to oversee the removal activities five miles from their regional office in Berkeley.

In response to public comments on the permit modification described in the fact sheet DTSC stated:

"EPA guidance requires a Class 3 permit modification to reflect the agency's determination that corrective action is complete."

Corrective Action is complete. Confidently, DTSC has again certified that any exposure of future Bayport residents to residual toxins at the former East Housing site does not make the area unsafe for you and your family to live on.


But wait. DTSC is currently overseeing an Alameda Unified School District investigation of potential contamination at a proposed elementary school site within the Bayport development. According to a newspaper report (Alameda Times-Star, 7/26/04), DTSC is concerned about benzene contamination in shallow groundwater at the proposed elementary school site.


This is the contact information from the DTSC fact sheets referenced above:

  • DTSC Deed Restriction Project Manager: Marcia Liao (510) 540-3767 Email:
  • DTSC Hazardous Waster Permit Project Manager: Dean Wright (916) 255-6528 Email:
  • DTSC School Project Manager: Kamili Siglowide (916) 255-6527 Email:
  • Si prefiere hablar en español acerca de ésta información: Jesus Cruz (510) 540-3933

Look for followup postings about Bayport at


Posted September 16, 2004

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