City cheers removal of rusting tanks

City cheers removal of rusting tanks

Michele Ellson

Three dozen above ground tanks are being removed from a tank farm at 2015 Grand Street. Photo by Mike Rosati.

City leaders are rejoicing over the pending removal of three dozen rusting oil storage tanks that have stood for more than a half century near the foot of Grand Street, a move one city staffer said could herald the first step in an eventual shuttering of the tank farm there.

"We are very pleased about the removal of these tanks as it will greatly reduce the visual blight in the city, and improve the quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods,” Mayor Marie Gilmore was quoted as saying in a press release the city issued last week.

Shell Oil, which owns the hulking above ground tanks, kicked off the removal project at the end of October. Work is expected to continue through the end of the year, according to a fact sheet distributed to neighbors of the tank farm, which is operated by Pennzoil-Quaker State.

All but one of the tanks that are being removed aren’t in use, it says; a dozen tanks that are still being used by the company will remain. The facility houses packaged and bulk lubricants that are shipped to the company’s Northern California customers.

A Shell representative didn’t respond to questions about what will happen with the tank farm, which sits at 2015 Grand Street. But the city’s building official, Greg McFann, said the company’s plan has long been to transition operations out of Alameda.

“Their intent has been for a long time to move to someplace that is easier to access,” McFann said.

He said the removal effort may have been prompted by the city’s request that the company paint the rusting tanks, which in turn had been prompted by resident complaints about their condition. The tank farm has been in operation since 1951, but has since been surrounded by residential development.

“The planning department indicated to me that this area has been rezoned as residential and Pennzoil was grandfathered in, but it seems they should be required to maintain their storage tanks properly,” a resident wrote on the See Click Fix website in March. “Thanks in advance to our City officials for looking into this matter and advising if anything can be done.”

The company was subject to a 1998 cleanup order from the California Regional water Quality Control Board due to some soil and groundwater contamination. But the case has since been closed, online records show.

In addition to the tanks, the company will be removing a small structure that sits on the property.

Work is scheduled to be conducted between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturdays if needed.


Submitted by Bill (not verified) on Thu, Nov 14, 2013

Though the removal of the tanks will be a good thing, I'd like to know if the company is paying taxes or fess for that area and for th storage tanks. If so, what will the city lose in regards to revenue generated from that facility?

Submitted by Rob Byrne (not verified) on Sat, Jun 21, 2014

Will this allow for easement to allow Clement to be completed and the truck artery to be reestablished to get the trucks on the proper truck route and away from Lincoln, Buena Vista and Benton streets?