Aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay the Port of San Diego $5.8 million to clean up the contamination in San Diego Bay.
In 1970 Lockheed Martin leased a 61,000 square-foot property called the Tow Basin Site, located at 3380 North Harbor Drive, to test the designs of boats, submarines and other submersibles, and seaplanes. In addition, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company leased a commercial pier and railway terminal at 1160 Harbor Drive for other maintenance and industrial uses.
After decades of use, California's Environmental Protection Agency discovered contaminated sediment along the bay floor. It ordered the company to begin remediation.
Fast forward ten years, despite the attempted cleanup, the San Diego Regional Water Board discovered additional contamination at the Tow Basin Site as well as Lockheed's Marine Terminal. Investigators found evidence of "unauthorized discharges of wastes” in the bay. The water board determined that the discharges were substantial enough to possibly "have an impact on human health and the benthic community, and may have an impact on aquatic dependent wildlife, thus creating a condition of pollution and nuisance in waters of [California].”
The Port of San Diego then filed a lawsuit in 2016 to ensure remediation occurs. The two sides, as well as General Dynamics who leased the site for a shorter period of time, reached an agreement earlier this year. A federal court judge finalized those terms on June 21.
The agreement calls for Lockheed to pay $3.3 million to remediate the sediment at both sites. In addition Lockheed will prepare the lots according to the proposed demolition plans. Lastly, the aerospace company will pay $2.5 million for future development at the two locations. General Dynamics will reimburse Lockheed Martin $850,000 for any contamination it caused while it controlled the site. To help ease the sting, the Port of San Diego will waive 36 months of rent, amounting to a $200,000 savings for the company.