Contaminated Soil Used to Fill Trench Halts Work on Oakland Army Base Project

Groundbreaking last November for the first 
phase of the Oakland Global project.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares 

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | A subcontractor doing work at the Oakland Army improperly filled a utility trench with approximately 20,000 cubic yards of untested soil left over by a former tenant and later found to be contaminated, city staff members said Tuesday. Urban Recycling Solutions, the property’s former tenant, has ties to Councilmember Larry Reid and was accused last year of receiving a sweetheart deal allowing it to also accept industrial waste.

The cost of removing the significant amount of soil could be between $2-3 million, said Doug Cole of the city’s Office of Neighborhood Investment. However, overtures have already been made to the former tenant for bearing some of  the clean up costs, Cole added, along with the subcontractor who may have violated protocol by filling the trench without first testing the soil. The subcontractor involved is Morrow-Meadows Corporation of Redwood City. In the meantime, as owner of the property, the city may have front the cost of removal, said Cole.

In April, the Oakland Post reported news of the delay at the large-scale Army Base project backed by Oakland developer Phil Tagami. The report, however, only attributed the delay to substandard work on the utility corridor for underground wiring. It also reported the need for a larger concrete cap on the conduit. Cole added, Tuesday, the city is in disagreement with the Port of Oakland over the size of the concrete cap.

The potential delay for work on the joint trench could be one year, said Cole. John Monetta, the city’s project manager for the Oakland Army Base, however, said while work on the joint trench, for now, will come to a halt, the overall timetable for the project will not likely change.

News of the contaminated soil was not included in the report given Tuesday to the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee, but referenced in public comment by an Oakland resident. Councilmembers Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Reid were critical of its exclusion and urged Monetta bring such matters to the committee more promptly in the future.

“Twenty thousand yards of contaminated soil–wow,” said Reid following the explanation from city staff. Reid, though, has some ties to the former tenant, Urban Recycling Solutions. Last year, its owner, Tom Chasm, was accused of currying favor with Reid through City Hall insider Darrel Carey. The allegation asserted Chasm paid Carey $1,000 to lobby Reid to approve conditions that would allow the company to begin accepting industrial waste such as soil, concrete and asphalt. In return, they claimed Reid requested $50,000 toward his retirement, which Reid vehemently denied.

3 thoughts on “Contaminated Soil Used to Fill Trench Halts Work on Oakland Army Base Project

  1. By MW:

    If this had happened in an unincorporated section of the County and Alameda County's Public Works Agency had then been called in to “investigate” the situation, most likely one of the professional pathological liars, er, excuse me, I mean “experts” and “investigators,” from Public Works would have “studied” and “investigated” the situation and then issued a report “proving” that there was no violation.

    And if any whistleblower in said situation had then challenged the accuracy of the standard lies, garbage, and nonsense from Public Works, most likely lawyers from AC's DA's office and/or County Counsel's office would have been called in to “investigate,” and then rubberstamp, approve, certify, and legitimatize, the standard and predictable lies, garbage, and nonsense from Public Works.

    In fact, ask the big boys who have power in AC's Public Works Agency how many more decades they intend to keep on playing games and stalling in regard to repairing the section of road in Castro Valley that has been nicknamed Dead Man's Curve, a road whose major safety defects have already caused deaths and a lot of serious injuries, or whether they are holding out and waiting until someone offers them a huge under the table bribe so that Public Works will take the necessary steps to protect human life.

    In fact in regard to the lies, sleaze, frauds, and total contempt for truth and human life regularly practiced by certain scumbags who have great power and influence in AC's Public Works Agency, the San Leandro Times of Thursday, December 27, 2012 had a front page article titled “CREEK RESIDENTS BARK ABOUT FALLING TREES.”

    The basic gist of the article was that even though certain large trees for awhile had been repeatedly dropping heavy branches on at least one resident's property. and which fortunately at that time had not yet killed anybody, Public Works continued to stall and give the area residents the runaround, and rather than correcting the situation.

    (Most likely Public Works was hoping that one of the area residents would come through with a large under the table bribe so that Public Works would then finally approve getting rid of those extreme hazards that were a major threat to human life.)

    Finally, and after non-stop stalling and constant runarounds for at least an entire year, the jokers and pathological liars at Public Works agreed to get rid of those extremely hazardous trees.

    Q: So why did the scumbags at Public Works finally agree to correct and alleviate the situation, and without receiving an under the table bribe?

    A: Most likely because one the residents had sent so many letters to Public Works managers discussing the hazard, that therefore the big boys in Public Works were afraid that if one of those falling heavy branches had ended up killing one of the residents, that one or more people in Public Works might have been charged with murder.

    In fact, someone should discuss with the residents of the area that Dead Man's Curve is in that the next time anyone dies in a car accident caused by the extremely unsafe conditions on Dead Man's Curve, that a lawsuit should be brought charging certain high ranking officials in Public Works with murder.


  2. Terrible lack of staff oversight. The subcontractor and prime tried to cut corners, save money and screw the taxpayers. Oakland has lost tons of money over the years with redevelopment projects due to totally incompetent staff. No wonder Blackwell decided to bail.


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