In Depth

Hangar One Information
12.16.08
 
NASA remains steadfast in our commitment to the expeditious clean up and restoration of Hangar One. Our intent is to continue to work with the Navy on this effort. However, we agree with our neighbors in the community that this process should be not only deliberate, but should also occur as quickly as feasible so that this iconic structure is not hazardous to human health or the environment, and may be revived and used as it was originally intended. NASA has conducted regular tests and we found that contaminants from Hangar One have been significantly reduced since the Navy recoated the hangar four years ago.

In 1997, during routine testing, NASA Ames discovered an unusual toxin called a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), specifically Aroclor 1268, in the Center's storm drain settling basin. Subsequent sampling programs determined in 2002 that the Galbestos used in 1932 to make the external siding of Hangar 1, was the source of Aroclor 1268. As a result of the high levels of PCBs present in the Hangar 1 building components, Hangar 1 was closed to human use as required by the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).

According to the regulations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), better known as SuperFund, the PCBs found in the Hangar must be removed. Although NASA Ames has owned the Hangar 1 property since 1994, the US Navy agreed that it was responsible for the contamination source, and thus, for its clean up. In 2003, the US Navy completed an interim control measure, known as a Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA), for the short-term protection of human health and the environment. This method included applying a specialized coating to the exterior surface of Hangar 1 to seal the materials on the building surface for a period of three to five years. As the life of the temporary sealant nears its end, the Navy must now consider long-term remedial response actions to permanently address the imminent threat to human health and the environment from the PCBs in Hangar 1.

The Navy's available long-term options to address the situation could have an adverse effect on Hangar 1 historic properties. NASA Ames recognizes the value of Hangar 1 to the community as a significant local landmark. As a result, NASA Ames has voluntarily chosen to go above and beyond the legal requirements for protecting historic property that the Navy is bound to by Superfund. NASA Ames has elected to meet the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act as it applies to Hangar 1, which is considered a contributing historic element in the Shenandoah Plaza historic district. In doing so, NASA Ames has made preservation of Hangar 1 as a historic community landmark a top priority in the long-term remediation decision process. . The Navy has been holding Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings on a bi-monthly basis for several years and has held several public meetings on its remediation activities at the former Moffett Field, including Hangar 1. On May 5, 2006, the Navy made its Environmental Engineering Cost Analysis (EE/CA) report for Hangar One available to the public. On July 5, 2006, the Navy closed the public comment period for the EE/CA. The Navy after reviewing public comment conducted a structural analysis of the Hangar and issued a revised EE/CA for public comment. The Navy held a public hearing. The Navy also invited the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to provide comments. The ACHP held a public hearing and sent comments to the Navy urging the Navy and NASA to continue working together to assure a coordinated approach to remediation and reuse to avoid adverse effects to the Hangar. NASA is currently coordinating with the Navy on the schedule for the Navy’s release of its Action Memo and subsequent removal action, while also working with prospective partners and tenants to recover and reuse the Hangar consistent with the Hangar’s designation as a contributing element in the Shenandoah Plaza Historic District; NASA Ames Reuse Guidelines for Hangar 1 under the 2002 Programmatic Agreement with the California State Historic Preservation Office; Executive Order 13287, Preserve America (encouraging incorporation, either physically or virtually, of historic Federal facilities into local cultural tourism planning); Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management (encouraging sustainable building practices), and other applicable Federal and State laws, regulations, and Executive Orders.