OAKLEY -- The public has a week left to weigh in on the state's plans to give another portion of the DuPont property a clean bill of health.

March 18 marks the deadline for public comment on the 27 acres where a chemical manufacturing plant once operated, after which the state Department of Toxic Substances Control will review those opinions and decide whether to follow through on its proposal to declare the property cleaned up and ready for development. The agency expects to make the determination by mid-April.

The area, along Bridgehead Road, is part of approximately 552 acres that DuPont bought in 1955, most of which was either farmland or wetlands habitat and has remained that way.

On the portion of land that it used, the company produced a gasoline additive, refrigeration cooling compounds and titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in various foods and household products.

The plant closed in 1998 after 42 years of operation and most of the buildings were torn down the following year.

Since then, eucalyptus and willow trees have helped remove contaminants by soaking them up through their roots.

State testing on the 27 acres has found that the chemicals that remain in the soil and groundwater don't pose a risk to people or the environment.

If the state lifts its restrictions on this property, DuPont then will have 75 acres that it can sell.

The consulting firm that's marketing the site will give a presentation at the Oakley City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

"It has a lot of characteristics that are good," said DuPont spokesman Bob Nelson, noting that the property not only is large but is near two freeways, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and a deep-water marina -- a hard-to-find collection of features that might appeal to some businesses.

Nelson said he isn't aware of any serious offers that have come in, but pointed out that the land only went on the market a few months ago.

The plan is to sell the property in stages as the state declares parts of it ready for redevelopment, Nelson said.

Because the cleanup will continue in three additional areas over the next five years, DuPont ultimately should have about 150 acres that it can sell. Plans to reuse 22 acres of the site for a proposed power plant are already well under way.

Pacific Gas & Electric intends to build a 586-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, as the state's Public Utilities Commission approved its resubmitted application in late December.

PG&E now aims to bring the plant online by July 2016. Danville-based Radback Energy Inc. would be responsible for building the plant and selling it to the utility company once it is up and running.

The project has been through a topsy-turvy five-year process of approvals, reversals and appeals. Most recently, The Utility Reform Network, along with several other like-minded environmental groups opposed to the project, have filed for a rehearing. Radback has done some minimal grading, but it has said that it will wait to resume construction until the PUC has ruled on the matter.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.

IF YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN
Anyone who wishes to comment on the state's plans to lift restrictions on part of the DuPont Oakley Site should contact Peter Ruttan, project manager, at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, 8800 Cal Center Drive, Sacramento, CA 95826, or at Peter.Ruttan@dtsc.ca.gov. People can also call 916- 255-3630.
A presentation will be given at the Oakley City Council meeting Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., at the Council Chambers, 3231 Main St.