Hunters Point Naval Shipyard

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The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is a closed shipyard located in San Francisco, California. Once a thriving commercial and then naval shipyard, Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is now a site filled with pollution from the series of industrial companies that used the yard over the years. San Francisco residents are pushing for a cleanup of the shipyard in order to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.

Hunters Point was established in 1870 as a commercial shipyard on around 640 acres in the southeast corner of San Francisco Bay, and the shoreline was later extended. The more than 1000 feet of docks were built on solid rock, and the water surrounding the docks was around 65 feet in depth. At the time that the Hunters Point docks were built, they were thought to be the longest in the world.

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was used by the US Navy beginning just before the Pearl Harbor bombings and throughout World War II for the construction of Liberty Ships. After the war, the Navy Radiological Defense Laboratory was moved to Hunters Point. From 1946 to 1969, the NDRL cleaned and decontaminated ships that were used in nuclear testing, studying and developing countermeasures against nuclear weaponry. The Navy also performed research on the effects of radiation from nuclear weaponry on animals. Many of the buildings in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard still contain radioactive waste today.

The Navy decommissioned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard but retained ownership of the site in 1974. The Navy then leased the site to a ship repair company and other businesses in the area. In 1986, the site was investigated for improper waste disposal, and the site was officially closed in 1991. Cleanup efforts of the site began the next year with a partnership between the US Navy, the State of California and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite the cleanup efforts that began in 1992, the area surrounding Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is still polluted. The harmful chemicals found at the site include radioactive wastes, industrial solvents, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals, as well as asbestos. The EPA is still cleaning up much of this hazardous waste today.

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