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West Oakland Lead Sampling Report

Site Contact:
Matt Mitguard
Site Assessment Manager


Site Location:
Oakland, CA 94607

The West Oakland Lead Sampling Report (Report) summarizes EPA soil sampling activities
conducted in West Oakland, Alameda County, California in June 2018. For the purposes of this
report, the Sampling Area is defined as an approximate 2.26-square-mile area bounded by the I-
880 freeway to the west and south, the I-980 freeway to the east, and the I-580 freeway to the
north, which includes residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
jointly selected the West Oakland neighborhood to conduct the sampling because it is comprised
of both residential and industrial properties. Industrial activity, both present and past, was
considered with regard to the potential release of lead into area soils.

The goal of this Report is to better understand the distribution of lead contamination and to
determine whether that information could be used to address lead contamination in the Sampling
Area. Two primary objectives were established to do this: 1) Characterize Lead Concentrations
within the Sampling Area; and 2) Determine Potential Sources of Lead Contamination.

Weston Solutions, Inc. (WESTON®) was tasked to conduct sampling and to provide results for
investigation and potential cleanup. The Sampling Area was divided into 203 grids to allow for
random sampling of locations. A total of 396 composite soil samples and 40 duplicate samples
were collected from tree wells and other unpaved public rights-of-way (ROWs) at surface and
shallow subsurface depths (0 to 2 inches and 2 to 6 inches, respectively) and were analyzed for

With respect to Objective 1, Characterize Lead Concentrations, lead was detected in all soil
samples ranging from 22 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to 1,900 mg/kg in surface samples, and
8.7 mg/kg to 3,900 mg/kg in shallow subsurface samples. Lead concentrations across the Sampling
Area did not suggest discernable differences in pattern or concentrations. The majority of
concentrations found were between 80 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg (58 percent [%]), with an overall
average concentration of 314.5 mg/kg. The next highest range was between 400 mg/kg and 800
mg/kg (21%); therefore, the majority (79%) of the samples were between 80 mg/kg and 800 mg/kg.

With respect to Objective 2, Determine Potential Sources of Lead Contamination, no single
stationary source was found. Although identification of discrete, primary, and industrial sources
of lead was attempted, due to widespread lead concentrations across the entire Sampling Area, it
was not possible to attribute significant lead concentrations solely to a specific site. Additionally,
the data suggests that elevated lead levels in the Sampling Area is likely a result of many point and
non-point sources impacting the area over time, e.g., auto emissions, lead paint, or former smelting
operations. Based on the findings of the Report, EPA initiated Preliminary Assessments (PAs) at
two facilities: Globe Metals Company (Globe Metals) and Custom Alloy Scrap Sales (CASS),
and Pre-CERCLA Screenings (PCSs) at three facilities: Acme Galvanizing (Acme), Foster’s
Plating, and Pacific Pipe. Following the completion of the PAs and PCSs, it was determined that
none of the facilities met the criteria for further evaluation under Superfund.

Based on the sample results, subsequent investigations may be appropriate for State and local
authorities who are investigating lead contamination and lead exposure in the area. EPA has
discussed the data with the California DTSC, a collaborator on this project, and they have made
plans to do additional work in the area under their authorities. Further efforts by EPA under the
Site Assessment Program are not warranted as the Superfund Program requires that a site
potentially responsible for the contamination be identified. As discussed previously, lead
contamination in the Sampling Area is associated with multiple sources, past and present, none of
which appear responsible for the majority of the contamination.