Hunters Point Shipyard Residents Face No Radiation Risk, State Says

Community advocates criticized the retesting plan for not going far enough amid a radiation cleanup scandal of the former naval shipyard.

Two men play with their dogs in a newly developed park that overlooks dormant buildings in parcel G at the Hunters Point shipyard on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

State public health officials are once again seeking to assure residents of on a segment of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard embroiled in a fraudulent cleanup that the there are no radiation risks.

Calls for retesting of Parcel A-1, where more than 300 homes sit, came after environmental watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility revealed that up to 97 percent of soil samples gathered by a remediation contractor Tetra Tech may have been falsified or manipulated. The California Department of Public Health, which provided weekly updates as it surveyed the site from July to October, announced Friday that “results to do have found no radiation health or safety risks” on the parcel.

But criticism of the scanning plan, which lacked soil sampling, mounted before testing even began. Local residents and groups like Greenaction and Golden Gate University’s Environmental Law and Justice Clinic, which have worked to revoke Tetra Tech’s radiation license, also called attention to potentially contaminated sewer lines and storm drains from the dumping of radioactive waste.

The CDPH used a detection and monitoring system the scan the streets, sidewalks, and publicly-accessible areas around the resident’s home but only went down six inches. Surveying hit another setback in trust when a radioactive item was found near Galvez Avenue and Donahue Street, close to newly built homes, in September.

Contractors removed the naval deck marker buried about 10 inches deep and CDPH deemed that it did not pose a health or safety risk when scans found that no radium leaked out.

The United States Navy is in the process of retesting Parcel G, where the soil samples were called into question, and has faced criticism for rushing the process. From 2002 to 2016, the agency contracted civil engineering firm Tetra Tech to remediate the 500-acre site for an estimated $300 million.

In May, two former Tetra Tech supervisors were sentenced to federal prison after admitting they falsified records and substituted contaminated soil samples with clean ones. Whistleblowers came forward as far back as 2012.

Read SF Weekly‘s cover story on Hunters Point:

Toxic Relationship: The Fraud at Hunters Point
Can the same government regulators who let the fraudulent cleanup go unnoticed be trusted to finish the job?

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