Hiding in Plain Sight

Metal shavings embedded in the shoreline

A few years ago, Baykeeper skipper Jeff Wasserman and his wife Julie were kayaking along the Alameda shoreline on a lazy Saturday afternoon when they noticed something glittering in the embankment. Intrigued, Jeff and Julie navigated closer and were surprised to find that the shore was studded with thousands of ribbons of metal (pictured). They immediately reached out to our pollution hotline.

Jeff and Julie’s discovery led to an extensive investigation by Baykeeper’s field and legal teams, who found that the metal shards were left over from an aviation manufacturer, Allied Engineering and Production Corp., that had operated on the site from the 1950s to 2013. For decades, Allied used the Alameda site as an open dumping ground, leaving thousands of pieces of aeronautical metal junk embedded in the shore.

But the problem wasn’t just that the metal ribbons looked bad. Our science team took sediment samples by kayak and found high levels of toxic heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, and chromium, which were undoubtedly leaching into the Bay. Despite this, nothing had been done since Allied’s closure to clean up the site.

So we took action and filed a case against Allied, and the current property owners TC I 2421 Blanding, LLC and Stone Boatyard, LLC under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In November, TC I completed its portion of the agreed upon shoreline clean up. And this month, we secured a legally binding agreement requiring Stone Boatyard to clean up its portion of the shoreline. In addition to covering the pollution cleanup costs, the companies have agreed to make a payment to the Rose Foundation for Communities & the Environment to make up for their past pollution.

But our work isn’t done yet. Baykeeper staff will make regular kayak patrols to the area to make sure that Stone Boatyard is cleaning up the metals effectively and on time. And we will continue to monitor our hotline for new pollution reports from members like you!

Have you noticed any signs of pollution in San Francisco Bay or along the shoreline? Let us know by submitting a tip to our pollution hotline