Residents decry site’s pollution

Residents and boat owners at Oyster Point and Oyster Cove Marinas continue to push claims that a nearby construction site is violating environmental and city regulations despite recent reports finding it in compliance with the law.

Most recently, on Sunday, John Moses, a boat owner who has berthed his boat at Oyster Cove for eight years, said he observed excavation activity on the 8.8-acre site on Sunday, something the contractor, Hathaway Dinwiddie is not permitted to do, according to the city.

The city investigated the accusation and found that workers were only conducting maintenance on the slag-screening machine, City Engineer Ray Razavi said, something they’re permitted to do on the weekends.

“We’re ready to shut them down if there was any grading operation going on,” Razavi said.

Boat users and those living on their boats, known as “live-aboards,” also complained during the fall about dust they say was swept up from the excavation site by wind coming down off San Bruno Mountain and dropped all over their boats.

The site, formerly a U.S. Steel plant, has large amounts of slag, a byproduct of steel production, that needs excavation before construction can begin on Slough Estates’ 315,444-square-foot research and development facility with underground parking.

The concerned citizens had the samples tested, and they say the dust contains 17 different heavy metals, including cadmium, chromium and lead. At the City Council meeting on Nov. 29, however, officials from the Bay Area AirQuality Management District and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board said that their data showed the site was in full compliance with environmental and regulatory policies, noting that the dust could be coming from U.S. Highway 101.

The complaints have pitted the marina users against the contractor and developer of 333 Oyster Point Blvd. The city is caught in the middle, South San Francisco Vice Mayor Richard Garbarino said.

“You’ve got two agencies saying this is what their findings are,” Garbarino said. “I think the argument is between boat owners and state agencies.”

Moses said that outsiders he has described the problem to encourage him to contact a lawyer, but there were no plans to do so.

“No one seems willing or able to enforce the violations,” Moses said. “They just have excuses for everything that occurs over there.”

dsmith@examiner.com

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