After nearly 20 years of investigation and interim remedial measures at an 86-acre former chemical and research facility fronting on San Francisco Bay, in December 2019 the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) approved the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the developable uplands portion of the property. Located in Richmond, CA, the facility had manufactured basic chemicals since the 1890s and later formulated pesticides and added an agricultural chemical research center, including greenhouses. The comprehensive RAP approved by DTSC includes soil excavation and offsite disposal, in situ groundwater treatment, soil vapor extraction, and capping. The RAP approval is a major step towards redevelopment of the property, which may include certain types of residential development as part of a larger mixed use development.
Edgcomb Law Group, LLP (ELG) attorneys John Edgcomb and Bill Marsh have provided environmental law services at the facility since 1989, including through the initial shutdown of the operating facility, much of its demolition, an initial site investigation and remediation conducted under Regional Board oversight, sale of the property to a developer, and further investigation and remediation under DTSC oversight to prepare the facility for redevelopment. ELG was also instrumental in obtaining DTSC approval in 2019 of the RAP for Habitat Area 2, which required the excavation and offsite disposal of contaminated sediments from two freshwater lagoons that had been former wastewater discharge ponds. Remaining deeper contaminated sediments were capped in place. Due to the presence of wetlands and endangered species in Habitat Area 2, ELG assisted its client in obtaining permits and approvals for the RAP from multiple other Federal and State agencies. Remediation of Habitat Area 2 was completed in 2019. The habitat restoration phase of the cleanup is ongoing and will result in a unique freshwater habitat for the enjoyment of wildlife, as well as users of the adjacent Bay Trail, and will also serve as an ecological amenity for the expected redevelopment of the property. We are pleased that with this latest approval, ELG’s client will be able to complete its remedial efforts at the property, allowing it to be redeveloped and returned to the tax rolls of the City of Richmond, with which ELG also engaged to ensure that the proposed Uplands and HA-2 RAPs were consistent with the provisions of the Richmond Bay Specific Plan, approved by the City in 2016. In addition to guiding our client through the numerous multi-agency approval processes required for the various phases of investigation and remedial activity, we assisted our client through negotiations with the City through several changes in the property’s zoning, and successfully defended it in litigation with a prior failed developer and its lender.