Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
EPA-CBC Environmental Justice Tour
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
1747 14th Street, Oakland
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP) is a community based organization that came together around 2002 to build on the “Neighborhood Knowledge for Change” report and project, in which the grassroots community developed 17 indicators of community vitality and health. Since then, the WOEIP has continued to organize and advocate on issues of environmental justice, community health and redevelopment. It also carries out community education, capacity building and leadership development to empower community members to develop strategies and solutions for their community’s environmental and economic well being.
WOEIP has developed a program (including summer program for high school students) for community members to advocate for environmental justice by using grassroots data collection. The program trains citizens to use equipment and create data sets that can be brought to the attention of companies and agencies regarding local environmental issues.
In 2005, the WOEIP and US EPA signed a formal Partnering Agreement, which built on an EPA-funded and community-implemented truck study to assess the impacts of Port (of Oakland) impacts. This agreement established the West Oakland Toxics Reduction Collaborative (WOTRC). WOTRC has brought together a full spectrum of stakeholders to address and solve problems related to Port operations, diesel trucks, land use, brownfields, and healthy homes. EPA has supported this effort over the past 8 years with over $600K in grants, the largest of which ($223K) came from EPA’s CARE (Community Action for a Renewed Environment) program. While the CARE funding was concluded in 2009, the WOEIP, U.S. EPA, and Alameda County Public Health have continued to oversee the Collaborative since that time.
Impacts due to port operations have been the main driver of airborne toxic risk in West Oakland, a main contributor of which is diesel pollution from the 2000 or so heavy duty diesel trucks serving the Port of Oakland. The WOTRC addressed this by way of several workgroups, which developed solutions to clean up the trucks as well as support for the truckers as they made the transition to a more modern cleaner truck fleet. One of the most important outcomes was the development of the OT-411 Truck Information Center, which will be visited after the WOEIP.
More info about CARE Funding for West Oakland
OT-411, or the Oakland Trucker Information Center
11 Burma Road, off Maritime, West Oakland
OT-411 is a non-profit partnership including the West Oakland community, dedicated to bringing vital information and services to truck owners and operators working the Port of Oakland. OT-411 assists truckers in understanding state environmental rules, grants and other incentives for truck retrofits and replacements, and financial skills to improve their businesses. OT-411 also offers standard compliance classes for drivers and skills development programs for people seeking employment or hoping to change jobs in the trucking industry.
The main trucking issues revolve around the requirement for cleaner trucks (retrofitted or replaced) under State law in order to legally enter the Port, as well as issues surrounding idling and lack of access to services and facilities for truckers.
Shore power – The Port faces the imperative to install electric charging equipment for ships to operate on shore-based grid power while docked, as required by State law in the near future and in order to meet clean air goals. It risks losing business to other ports if the equipment is not installed, and the Port faces a challenge of coming up with the funding, with the State thus far having committed only some of the funds, and community advocates suggesting that the shipping industry and cargo owners ought to carry more of the funding burden.
The tour will include a stop at an urban food cooperative fighting to combat inner-city food deserts. Located adjacent to the BART station, the Mandela Marketplace works directly with community residents, local, state and federal agencies, non-profits, small business owners, and farmers to support strategies to meet food needs, expand economic opportunity and increase self-reliance of low-income and disenfranchised people and minority farmers. This is an excellent example of “Food Justice”, increasingly a priority for EJ communities across the country.
AMCO Superfund Site
1364 7th Street
The AMCO Superfund Site is a former chemical distribution facility located in the South Prescott neighborhood of West Oakland. The site was added to the Superfund National Priorities list in 2003. The site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, metals and organochlorine pesticides in groundwater and soil. EPA Emergency installed a groundwater and soil vapor system for treating contaminated vapors when the site was discovered in 1997, which was shut down months later due to community concerns about dioxin emissions. Lead-contaminated soils were removed from eight residential yards in 2007. In late 2009, EPA installed systems in four homes to mitigate potential vapor intrusion issues.
The Remedial Investigation Report was released in 2008, and a draft Feasibility Study was completed earlier this year. EPA is proceeding with one component of the alternatives evaluated, excavation of contaminated soils and waste product found between the surface to approximately 15 feet below ground surface. The action will also include permanent relocation of 3 residential houses located on 3rd Street and temporary relocation of residents living on Center Street. The cleanup action will remove the most contaminated material from the site and allow EPA to better characterize contaminants remaining in the deeper zones. As EPA moves forward with the cleanup of the site, cleanup levels will be set at the most protective end of the risk range or as low as possible.
More info about the AMCO Chemical Superfund Site.
The West Oakland Residential Lead investigation area is comprised of six residential blocks adjacent to the AMCO NPL site. In 2007 the U.S. EPA performed an assessment of lead in residential soils at properties adjacent to the former AMCO property. This investigation revealed high concentrations of lead in bordering residential soils. This prompted U.S. EPA to conduct Removal Actions at eight (8) residential properties containing lead contaminated soils.
Based on site conditions documented by the 2007 investigation, removal actions, citizen interest, and correspondence with U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Office the U.S. EPA conducted an expanded site-wide assessment of lead in residential soils in October 2009. Based on these results, EPA will be taking an innovative approach to addressing this lead contamination, using phosphates from waste fish bones to reduce the bioavailability of toxic lead species, and covering the treated soil with a green cap of sod and organic material. This would have far less impact on the neighborhood than a traditional dig and haul removal.
In addition to the innovative soil treatment, the project will be employing a local 8a contractor for the project, including graduates from the Cypress Mandela Training Center (trained through an EPA Green Jobs Training Grant). The project will use solar power for its electricity needs, electric vehicles for local transportation, and recycled materials, all in order to minimize the environmental and health impacts to the community.