Concord Naval Weapons Station
The Concord Naval Weapons Station has roots that date back to the middle of the 19th century, when the Navy built one of its first ordinance bases. The Concord Naval Weapons Station in its modern form was established in 1942 near the city of Concord, CA where the Sacramento River turns into Suisun Bay.
The station served as a key armament storage depot during World War II, supplying a wide range of naval vessels that disembarked from the nearby Port of Chicago. The Concord Naval Weapons Station continued to support military operations during the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf War conflicts.
Concord Naval Weapons Station was comprised of two main areas: the Inland Area (approximately 5,000 acres), which was located within the city limits, and the Tidal Area (nearly 8,000 acres). While the inland portion of the base was closed in 2007, the tidal area remains open.
Wartime Use & Tragedy
In 1944, thousands of tons of munitions being loaded on a naval cargo ship exploded at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, killing more than 300 people. Among those killed were sailors and merchant seamen as well as several civilians who were also employed on the base. Reports indicated that the blast could be felt as far as 30 miles away.
Current Site Status
The Environmental Protection Agency designated Concord Naval Weapons Station as a Superfund cleanup site in 1994 because of contamination from heavy metals. These included copper, arsenic, cadmium, lead, zinc and others. In addition, the land on which the base sat was found to be contaminated with pesticides and semi-volatile organic compounds. A massive cleanup operation began, paving the way for potential residential and commercial use.
More than 2,000 acres of the site with 20 miles of paved roadways are used as a vehicle testing area. In October 2014, it was announced that the CNWS would be used by Mercedes-Benz to test self-driving cars.
Concord Naval Weapons Station Workers and Asbestos
Over its long and rich history, the Concord Naval Weapons Station has hosted a wide variety of naval vessels. These ships had equipment that used asbestos products. Shipyard workers and veterans were exposed to asbestos through their work on and around boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, and other equipment. They are now at risk of developing mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Thousands of civilian employees and enlisted men and women worked at Concord Naval Weapons Station.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and sudden weight loss. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos and are experiencing these symptoms, please contact a doctor immediately.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma means that you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule a free case review with an experienced attorney at Belluck & Fox, LLP. We can advise you on how to protect yourself and your family.