— SF Bay: Fraud and coverup by Tetra Tech, state, and feds at Superfund sites Hunters Pt and Treasure Island; Navy poured radioactive waste down drains; residential and commercial development planned by city and Navy on contaminated land

From Labornet:

Posted July 4, 2017

“Cleaning The Swamp” Hunters Point Tetra Tech Workers Blow Whistle On Criminal Cover-up & Corruption

Published on Jul 4, 2017

Hunters Point and Treasure Island Tetra Tech health and safety inspectors spoke at a press conference at the former San Francisco shipyard and superfund toxic dump site on June 27, 2017 about the systemic criminal cover-up by the company, the Navy of serious radioactive contamination at the site and failure to rectify it. They were bullied and terminated when they reported the fraud and malfeasance by the management and officers of the company. Green Action has filed an administrative petition to halt the use by the Navy of this corrupt contractor. Other community health advocates talked about the environmental racism and the serious health conditions and deaths by the residents.
They also called for a criminal investigation by the San Francisco District Attorney Gascon and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate Tetra Tech and criminally prosecute them for fraud and corruption.
Additionally, Michael Madry a former quality assurance manager of Test America who was verifying the testing procedures at Hunters Point and Treasure Island noticed serious falsification and reported this to the management and OSHA. He was terminated because of his health and safety reports and Darrell Whitman who was an investigator with OSHA and the Whistleblower Protection Program was harassed and bullied by his supervisor for investigating the case. OSHA chief David Michaels and Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez conspired to prevent an investigation of the corruption at these agencies, supported his termination and allowed collusion with H.I.S. the then owner of test America and other companies that they are supposed to regulate.
Additional media:
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_YVo…
https://youtu.be/-EbkG4aQM1w
http://sfbayview.com/2017/06/whistleb…
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/…
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/…
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio…
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzfFB…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ3zi…
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQiB7…
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigati…
http://www.dailycensored.com/ohsagate/
http://issuu.com/injuredworkersnation…
http://issuu.com/injuredworkersnation…
http://issuu.com/injuredworkersnation…
http://issuu.com/injuredworkersnation…
http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/04/ex…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQiB7…
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capo…
http://sfbayview.com/2009/04/digging-…
https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/07/22/…
Production of Labor Video Project
http://www.laborvideo.org

http://www.labornet.org/

— San Francisco Hunters Point land development on hold as falsification of toxics cleanup investigated

Earlier reporting on this situation.

From Hood Online

September 22, 2016

Hunters Point Shipyard Land Transfers On Hold As Toxic Waste Cleanup Investigated

By John Shutt

Regulators from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Toxic Substances Control have told the Navy to stop transferring land from the Hunters Point Shipyard to developers while agencies investigate the extent of the falsification of data about the cleanup of toxic and radioactive materials at the site.

The regulatory action was first reported in the Ingleside-Excelsior Light last week, and stemmed from investigations into Navy contractor Tetra Tech.

NBC Bay Area reported earlier this year that a former Tetra Tech employee said he had been told to swap potentially contaminated soil samples for clean ones, dump potentially contaminated soil into open trenches around Hunters Point, sign falsified documents submitted to the government, and tamper with computer data about radiation levels. Other former workers said they were fired in retaliation after reporting violations to regulators.

The shipyard was declared a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency due to contamination from the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, located there from 1948 through 1969, and toxic waste left over from industrial use. The Navy is obligated to clean land at the shipyard before it is turned over for development.

EPA regional spokesperson Michele Huitric confirmed that investigations into Tetra Tech are ongoing, and said the EPA was aware of investigations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Navy. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission previously recommended a fine against Tetra Tech after they found the company had deliberately falsified data.

Part of the shipyard declared safe by regulators has already been transferred to developer FivePoint, a spinoff of Lennar Corporation, which is building residential housing. A FivePoint spokesman said that the Tetra Tech whistleblower reports are not related to Parcel A, the land they are building on.

“Parcel A was transferred in 2004, several years prior to the alleged soil mishandling, and after the Navy, USEPA, and State of California determined the property was cleaned up and safe for transfer,” said FivePoint spokesperson David Satterfield. “Parcel A was removed from the National Priorities List at that time and is no longer considered a federal superfund site.”

Bradley Angel from environmental activist group Greenaction said that he had confronted FivePoint officials at a recent sales event about the cleanup, and had been shown documents that indicated Tetra Tech worked on at least part of Parcel A.

“They took us into the back room and took out three big binders and opened the first one, and of course the first sentence was about Tetra Tech’s work at the Shipyard, but not, of course, about falsification of soil samples,” Angel said.

San Francisco Magazine reported yesterday that a July email from the Navy indicated that Tetra Tech may have done sampling on Parcel A.

Greenaction has called for Tetra Tech to be fired and for an independent investigation of toxin and radiation levels at the shipyard and in the surrounding area.

UC Santa Cruz researcher Dan Hirsch, part of a team preparing a report on the cleanup, said that not only had Tetra Tech falsified soil samples, the Navy has been using outdated remediation standards that allow much higher levels of toxic material than the EPA currently recommends—in some cases about 100 times higher—and radiation levels equivalent to 12 chest x-rays per year for residents.

“We found over and over again that the Navy used standards that EPA said they aren’t supposed to use,” Hirsh said.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 19th requesting a meeting.

“The environmental cleanup of the property is a critical first step in the process of developing Hunters Point Shipyard—a project that will deliver desperately needed housing and long-overdue public benefits to the Hunters Point community,” read the letter. “For that reason, we are requesting a briefing with senior Environmental Protection Agency leadership, confidential if necessary, so that we may better understand the scope and timelines of the investigations, and any potential impacts to the overall schedule for the delivery of these public benefits.”

The Shipyard development is a major piece of the city’s strategy for developing the southeastern waterfront. FivePoint plans to build 1,400 units of housing on the land that has already transferred, but thousands of additional units are now in limbo.

http://hoodline.com/2016/09/hunters-point-shipyard-land-transfers-on-hold-as-toxic-waste-cleanup-investigated

— Cover-up of radioactive and toxic waste at San Francisco; whistleblowers fired; 25 millirem used for testing in violation of EPA standards

Video by the Labor Video Project
53:53

The 420-acre shipyard was one of the nation’s most notorious Superfund sites, home to a federal nuclear program begun in 1946 that included a secret laboratory [Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory] where tests were conducted to determine the effects of radiation on living organisms. Military equipment and ships contaminated by atomic bomb explosions were kept at Hunters Point, and the grounds were polluted with petroleum fuels, pesticides, heavy metals, PCBs, organic compounds and asbestos. — SF Chronicle, February 7, 2017

On February 8, 2017, government agencies held a  meeting on the state of clean up at San Francisco’s former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. It was an open format”  meeting with poster boards and reps scattered around the room, forcing people to individually talk with reps. This was done instead of a real meeting before the whole audience — presentations by the various oversight agencies and questions and answers from audience which would put them on record for their remarks and which everyone could hear. “A government propaganda show,” said a community advocate. This format was deliberately chosen for lack of accountability.

The Navy representative refused to answer a request to hold a meeting with presentations and debate.

Government representatives included:

Nina Bacey, California Dept of Toxic Substances Control
Amy Browntell, SF Department of Public Health
Lily Lee, EPA Cleanup Project Manager, Superfund Division
Zach?, U.S. Navy
Malia Cohen, SF Board of Supervisors

Community advocates who spoke on camera included:

Marie Harris, Green Action
Bradley Angel, Green Action
Dr. Ray Tomkins, environmental scientist
Daniel Hirsch, UCSC Executive Director on Environmental and      Nuclear Policy; Founder, Committee to Bridge the Gap

Comments and interviews:

3:10 Interview of Nina Bacey, California DTSC

16:13 Interview of Amy Brownell, SF Public Health

18:37 Marie Harris, Green Action

20:10 Bradley Angel, Green Action

22:11 Dr. Ray Tomkins, environmental scientist — on the testing

29:13 Interview of Lily Lee, EPA

35:10 Daniel Hirsch (UCSC) questions Lily Lee (EPA)

41:40 Interview of Malia Cohen, SF Supervisor

45:07 Bradley Angel, Green Action

From the Labor Video Project

Cover up blows up at SF Hunters Point Naval Shipyard “Clean-up” Meeting, 2-7-17

At a meeting at San Francisco Hunters Point superfund site, the US Navy, EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances and San Francisco Department of Public Health tried to explain what they are doing about the systemic falsification of testing at the highly contaminated site. There has been on Federal, state or local criminal investigation of the intimidation, workplace bullying and termination of health and safety testers and whistleblowers at Test America and Tetra Tech. The US Navy also said they are still employing Tetra Tech around the United States.

Continue reading

— In 1947, US Navy burned 600,000 gallons of radioactive fuel at San Francisco shipyard

Originally from SF Weekly

BY LISA DAVIS
lisa.davis@sfweekly.com
SF Weekly
21st May 2003

With little fanfare, U.S. Navy officials in charge of cleaning up the Hunters Point Shipyard acknowledged last week that Navy personnel had burned large amounts of fuel contaminated with radioactive material in the shipyard’s boilers 56 years ago.

In its announcement, the Navy contended that the burning of more than 600,000 gallons of fuel oil containing traces of plutonium and other radioactive materials caused no harm to the environment or to people. But the Navy did not make clear how it determined there had been no harm.

Navy officials declined comment on the announcement, which was included in a fact sheet given to members of the Hunters Point community.

But representatives of federal environmental and health agencies said the revelation should prompt new radiation surveys in and around the shipyard. And residents of the Hunters Point and Bayview neighborhoods near the former shipyard — an area long plagued with health problems — expressed concern about the Navy’s disclosure, which comes after years of environmental cleanup at the shipyard and more than 50 years after the burning in question.

“Everything that happened, on the historical side, out there is significant,” says Lynne Brown, chairman of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board, a community liaison committee. “The community would like to know what happened.”

The Hunters Point Shipyard was an active naval base for about 40 years; the Navy decommissioned it in 1974. After leasing significant portions of the base to private interests for a time, the Navy has overseen a long-running environmental cleanup that, once completed, would allow ownership of the base to be transferred to the city of San Francisco. The city wants to redevelop the site for commercial and residential use.

In March 2001, the Navy released a draft Historical Radiation Assessment, billed, at the time, as an exhaustive, five-year look at radiological activities at the shipyard. The report — which, many environmental authorities argue, should have been finished years ago, and certainly long before the shipyard cleanup began in 1989 — cost some $2 million to complete.

That initial report contained no mention of fuel-burning at the shipyard, and deficiencies in the report, including some revealed by SF Weekly, led the Navy to expand and extend its investigation of shipyard radiation. What the Navy describes as “newly discovered” information — the burning of contaminated fuel from ships used as targets in early nuclear weapons tests — comes out of that expanded investigation, being conducted by the Navy’s Radiation Affairs Support Office, based in Yorktown, Va.

Actually, however, the burning of radioactive fuel at the shipyard was first publicly documented by SF Weekly in the initial installment of its investigative series “Fallout,” published in May 2001. That series, which relied in large part on the government’s own records, focused on the activities of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, a research facility that grew out of America’s early nuclear tests.

In 1946, as part of its weapons testing program, the United States detonated two 23-kiloton atomic bombs — known as shots Able and Baker — over a fleet of target ships anchored near the Bikini atoll in the South Pacific Ocean. Many of the ships involved in these Operation Crossroads tests were towed back to Hunters Point Shipyard for research purposes. This research, which centered on attempts to clean the ships of radioactive contamination, was the earliest reported work of the NRDL.

Most of the ships from the Operation Crossroads tests were too damaged and “hot” to reuse and were eventually scuttled at sea — but not before the Navy burned the fuel from three of them, including the giant USS Independence, a 10,000-ton aircraft carrier that had been close enough to have been severely mangled in the blasts. Another ship, the USS Gasconade, was so contaminated that, government reports state, it could only be boarded by workers wearing respiratory gear.

Nonetheless, according to a fact sheet distributed recently by the Navy, in the summer of 1947 Navy personnel (with the approval of officials at the Atomic Energy Commission) burned some 610,000 gallons of contaminated fuel oil from the Independence, the Gasconade, and the USS Crittenden in boilers at the shipyard’s power plants, then known as Buildings 203 and 521. Neither building is mentioned in the Navy’s initial Historical Radiation Assessment. The buildings also were not mentioned as potential sources of radiation contamination in environmental documents provided to the public and regulators in conjunction with the cleanup at Hunters Point Shipyard.

The Navy’s announcement on the burning acknowledges that the fuel oil contained, among other contaminants, plutonium, which has a half-life of 24,000 years — meaning that plutonium particles released in the smoke produced by the burning will exist, somewhere in the environment, for thousands of years. The Navy claims that the amounts of radioactive contaminants released via burning were too small to harm either people or other organisms in the environment.

If inhaled and lodged in the lungs, even tiny particles of plutonium can cause cancer. Construction associated with redevelopment of the shipyard would, almost certainly, kick up large amounts of dust. The question is whether that dust might contain particles of plutonium. Not everyone is willing to simply accept the Navy’s safety claims.

“I’m glad we found out,” says Claire Trombadore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s project manager for the shipyard site. “Our main concern is what is there now, and is there a risk to human health, or the environment, or both? In our minds, what needs to happen now is to survey that.”

Navy officials did not respond before press time to questions about the possibility of additional radiation surveys in and around the shipyard. The Navy also did not answer questions about how, precisely, fuel inside the Operation Crossroads target ships had been contaminated.

Last year, the EPA surveyed parts of the Hunters Point Shipyard with its Scanner Van — a vehicle that, as its name suggests, scans for radioactive contamination as it moves. But the equipment carried by the van is so delicate it cannot be used off-road, and areas surrounding at least one of the buildings where radioactive fuel was burned remain untested.

According to officials at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal agency that monitors environmental health threats, there is no way to determine how individuals exposed to the burning might have been harmed. Those officials say the only way to know what, if any, problems might exist now is to test the ground for radioactive contamination.

Community members may well be asking the Navy for such testing in the near future.

“My concern is that the radiological standards were lower then [in 1947], and when you’re burning radioactive materials, including plutonium, that stuff went into the community,” says Maurice Campbell, a member of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board. “They’re trying to standardize this as a safe practice, when it wasn’t.”

http://www.eurocbc.org/usn_admits_burning_rdncontam_oil_21may2003page1032.html