This website provides background information on the U.S. Navy’s Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) sites at Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL), Old Town (OT). The overarching goal of the Navy’s ERP is to protect human health and the environment from past hazardous waste practices and releases at Navy and Marine Corps Installation Restoration (IR) sites. The Navy’s ERP at NBPL OT is managed by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, California.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) also known as Superfund, was established in 1980. It provides a mechanism for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous waste and prevent contamination of future sites by assigning liability to responsible parties. In 1986, the legislation was amended through the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, which, among other changes, established a comprehensive framework to conduct the cleanup programs at United States Department of Defense (DoD) sites.
The Navy is the current landowner of NBPL OT and the lead federal agency working with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Regional Water Quality Control Board, in accordance with CERCLA, to collect and evaluate environmental data addressing issues related to past releases at each IR site.
Naval Base Point Loma History
Long before it was established as a military facility, Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) and the greater Point Loma area were occupied by indigenous peoples because the ocean and bay shorelines offered a variety of rich subsistence resources. The history of military use on Point Loma dates from the late 1700s, when the Spanish completed construction of Fort Guijarros on the peninsula to guard access to San Diego Bay. The name of the fort arose from its construction on the point of land the Spanish first called "Punta de los Guijarros," literally "cobblestone point.” Today, Fort Guijarros is a California landmark.
The modern history of military use at Point Loma dates to February 1852, when President Fillmore set aside about 1,400 acres in the southern portion of Point Loma for military purposes. The area was subsequently assigned to the United States Army and was named Fort Rosecrans. In 1898, the Army built a coastal artillery installation on the site, which remained active until 1945. In 1959, Fort Rosecrans was turned over to the Navy. The Navy Submarine Support Facility was established in November 1963 on 280 acres.
On November 27, 1974, the base was re-designated a shore command, serving assigned submarines, Submarine Group Five, Submarine Squadron Three, Submarine Development Group One, the Submarine Training Facility and, later, Submarine Squadron Eleven. On October 1, 1981, the base was designated as a Naval Submarine Base. Starting in April 1995, several commands were decommissioned, or their homeports were changed to meet downsizing requirements of the Navy. Commands throughout San Diego were regionalized to provide equal or better base services while, at the same time, managing a reduced budget. The six naval installations on Point Loma, including the OT, were consolidated as NBPL on October 1, 1998.
NBPL currently provides support to 70 U.S. Pacific Fleet afloat and shore-based tenant commands headquartered on the base.
Naval Base Point Loma - Old Town History
NBPL OT is located north of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the San Diego International Airport. It encompasses approximately 60 acres with 95 percent of the surface covered by buildings or pavement.
NBPL OT, previously known as Air Force Plant-19, was constructed on reclaimed land in the 1940s to support aircraft manufacturing operations during World War II. After wartime production ended, the property was sold to a private developer and used for various other industrial activities, including for warehousing purposes. Convair leased Building 2 in 1951 and resumed aircraft production. In 1954, Convair was purchased by General Dynamics. The United States Air Force acquired the property in 1957, and General Dynamics continued operations. During this time, four support buildings were constructed, and Atlas Missile manufacturing and assembly were conducted. In 1994, the General Dynamic portion of the property was acquired by Martin Marietta. Ownership of the property was transferred from the United States Air Force to the Navy in July 1995.
As a result of a 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision, the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) was relocated from the Washington, DC area and opened its San Diego headquarters on October 1, 1997. NAVWAR, formerly referred to as the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, is the largest tenant command at OT.
NAVWAR was formerly known as the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific Research Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Division. It is a full-spectrum RDT&E laboratory serving the Navy, Marine Corps, and other DoD and national sponsors within its mission, leadership assignments, and prescribed functions. It has facilities for conducting RDT&E and life-cycle support functions. These laboratories offer worldwide networking capabilities plus the ability to participate in major joint exercises.
NBPL OT’s historical use for various aircraft, rocket, and missile assembly and manufacturing operations has resulted in contamination from past waste handling practices at various locations inside and outside of existing and former buildings. Known or suspected contaminants in soil and groundwater include heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, and petroleum products.
Environmental Restoration Program Background
Environmental investigations and restoration activities have been ongoing at NBPL OT since the mid-1980s. The United States Air Force investigated and closed five sites under the Air Force ERP prior to transferring responsibility of the NBPL OT site to the Navy. The Navy’s ERP has addressed or is in the process of investigating and remediating soil and groundwater contamination from past environmental releases at each of the IR sites. Currently, there are three active IR sites on NBPL OT.