As a former military facility, Treasure Island was used by the U.S. Navy primarily as a personnel-processing center, but also had activities, typical of military bases of that era, involving petroleum, solvents, paints and other materials that must be cleaned up to stringent standards overseen by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Environmental Protection Agency. The Navy has evaluated Treasure Island for radiological contamination and found that it is consistent with background levels throughout the Bay Area.
Multiple regulatory agencies have performed independent evaluations and have all concluded that there is no risk to human health and safety in residential areas on Treasure Island. These agencies include:
The findings by these agencies were confirmed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, which has significantly more stringent standards than the federal government. As part of the decommissioning process, the U.S. Navy must ensure that Treasure Island is free of all environmental hazards and safe for residential development.
Any soil that has been radiologically impacted as part of military training activities has been and will continue to be disposed of in approved landfills outside of California following a rigorous characterization process approved by CDPH and DTSC. The Navy also has identified and removed low-level radiological objects such as glow-in-the-dark deck markers found on the northern end of the island near a solid-waste disposal area that continues to be remediated. All areas are required to be fully remediated by the Navy prior to transfer to the City of San Francisco.
The Navy is transparent about its findings, its plans for cleanup and the status of various parcels. It hosts regular public meetings to discuss environmental issues with residents of Treasure Island and the general public. More information can be found here. In 2005, the Navy established the Treasure Island Environmental Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) comprised of local community members and representatives of regulatory agencies to exchange information, concerns, issues, and ideas on the environmental restoration decision-making process.
Yerba Buena Island has no comparable issues. Learn more about the island here.
Health & Safety
All accessible areas of Treasure Island are safe to the public and confirmed to have no radiation above naturally occurring background levels. For more information visit the Navy’s Frequently Asked Questions here.
During construction, Treasure Island Community Development and its contractors are working under regulator-approved plans to remove any hazardous materials prior to demolition. Contractors also are operating under a thorough and stringent dust control and monitoring program.
At the request of a Treasure Island resident, the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in 2014 investigated the incidence of cancer on the island from the years 2002 to 2011. The investigation by an epidemiologist found “no evidence of significantly elevated incidence rates of all cancers among the residents of Treasure Island.’’