January 1, 2013

Contamination Cleanup Slated for San Leandro's Sandpiper Townhomes Complex

Singer-Friden site location map

Elevated levels of toxic volatile organic chemicals were recently detected at the Sandpiper Townhomes complex, which was built on the former Singer Friden factory site. Although the California Department of Toxic Substances Control “certified the completion of the hazardous substances cleanup” at the site in 2003, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and vinyl chloride were detected in the soil at concentrations exceeding residential screening levels while TCE and PCE were detected at elevated concentrations in indoor air samples.

URS Corporation plans to install two 18-feet deep soil vapor extraction wells and three soil vapor monitoring wells to collect soil vapor samples to determine the requirements for using soil vapor extraction to clean up the site. Soil samples will also be collected from the wells and analyzed for chlorinated volatile organic compounds. The wells will be installed in Cornwall Way between Blackpool Lane and Claridge Place.

Trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene, were likely used to degrease metal parts as part of the manufacturing process and for plating. Vinyl chloride was used in aerosol spray propellants until 1974.


Friden Calculators on Washington Avenue in San Leandro
Photo of Friden Calculators from San Leandro Library Collection

In 1936, Friden Calculating Machine built a factory on Washington Avenue in San Leandro. The facility manufactured adding machines, calculators (including the first all-transistor electronic calculator, the Friden 130, in 1963) and other mechanical and electrical devices until it closed in 1976. A year later, Citation Home Builders built 190 townhomes in a gated community known as Sandpiper. In 1987, the Hudson Lumber Company sued Sandpiper because the Hudson property had been contaminated by chemicals from the Sandpiper site. In 1995, an investigation confirmed contamination of the Sandpiper site and since the homes were built on the contaminated soil, the contamination was treated in place using groundwater extraction.

Reports on the contamination investigations and monitoring at the Singer Friden/Sandpiper Townhomes site can be found at http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/profile_report.asp?global_id=01360094 The new monitoring and extraction wells are scheduled to be installed sometime in 2013.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at January 1, 2013 12:34 PM | TrackBack
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