Polluted shipyard areas planned to be built over

Building rules are being developed to protect the health of builders and future residents at a polluted shipyard.

City lawmakers in the coming months will be asked to approve redevelopment plans, including 10,500 homes, an arena and new parks on 700 acres centered at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Candlestick Point.

The Navy is spending hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning up the radioactive and toxic legacy of its operations at the 500-acre former shipyard.

The cleanup efforts will leave some contamination in the soil, but precise details are unclear because a federal environmental review isn’t due until the fall.

Federal and state regulators will be charged with determining what contamination levels are considered safe for construction and new residents.

A new 49ers stadium was planned to built on contaminated portions of the shipyard next to the site of an underground dump that caught fire in 2000. The Navy has committed to cleaning up the land immediately beneath the proposed stadium.

The existing stadium is built on relatively clean soil that’s planned to be used for homes.

But the 49ers are trying to relocate to Santa Clara instead of to the shipyard, escalating fears about health consequences if the Navy fails to excavate the dump before the land is developed.

“There are still serious unanswered questions about The City accepting what is essentially a hazardous and radioactive waste landfill,” state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told city officials in a letter this month.

A proposed city regulation governing procedures for testing and building on polluted land was described Wednesday to Department of Building Inspection commissioners.

The regulation, called Article 31, is already guiding construction-related work on 88 outlying acres of the shipyard where homebuilding is about to begin.

Article 31 outlines protocols for dealing with potentially polluted land, including when building inspectors need to contact the Department of Public Health for specialized assistance.

“It operates as a flag,” city economic development official Michael Cohen said. “It’s an extra layer of protection.”



What’s in the ground

Pollutants at Hunters Point:



Heavy metals

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)


Source: U.S. EPA

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