Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the public, the area surrounding the base of the Mount Umunhum radar tower and pathways leading to the radar tower are closed to public access at this time. See map below.
- The summit shelter, west loop trail, stairs to the parking area, trailhead shelter, and trail to the Bald Mountain staging area all remain open at this time.
- The rain and wind events of November 9 and 10 appear to have caused small flakes of paint to shed off the radar tower. These paint chips were tested and found to contain low levels of lead.
- Lead was a common additive used in paint before the 1980s throughout the country, when the former Almaden Air Force Station was active.
- The former air force station site, including the radar tower, underwent comprehensive abatement and remediation work prior to the construction of the public access improvements. This work included the removal of peeling paint from the radar tower and the application of a sealant. Prior to opening to the public the tower was also painted with an anti-graffiti coating on the first floor. However, it appears that the remnant lead-containing paint that originally was adhered to the structure is now flaking off. For this reason, Midpen is taking the precaution of closing the area surrounding the radar tower to ensure the safety of the public visiting the summit area.
- Midpen is evaluating the necessary steps and additional abatement work needed to reopen the radar tower area to the public.
- We anticipate that the additional abatement will include removing existing peeling paint and repainting the entire radar tower. This work will likely require a public bidding process and take several months to complete. We expect to reopen the area at the conclusion of the project. Until then, trained Midpen staff using protective equipment will regularly remove the flaking paint chips to prevent a potential hazardous condition.
- A subsequent project to re-assess the radar tower and identify any additional repairs, to seal and retain the structure over the longer term, will take place over the next couple of years. There may be closures during this future work as well.
December 15, 2017