Watch CBS News

San Francisco's Radioactive Materials May Have Ended Up In East Bay Landfill

PITTSBURG (CBS SF) -- Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover is calling for an investigation of allegations that radioactive materials from San Francisco might have been deposited at Keller Canyon Landfill.

Pasadena-based Tetra Tech EC Inc. is alleged to have falsified data in the cleanup of radioactive soil at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. Contaminated soil may have been deposited at California landfills including Keller Canyon on Bailey Road in unincorporated Contra Costa County near Pittsburg.

Glover has directed staff to investigate the allegations and determine whether contaminated materials were sent to the Keller Canyon landfill. The staff report will be heard at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, according to Glover.

"I am very concerned about these allegations and want a full report from staff on this issue. I want to make sure the residents of Contra Costa County are protected and this matter is fully addressed," Glover said in a statement.

Tetra Tech officials said Wednesday they would pay for retesting at the San Francisco site by an independent third-party contractor following accusations that the firm falsified data.

"We want to assure the residents and neighbors at Hunters Point that what we did was proper and followed all Navy and regulatory guidelines, protocols and work plans," Tetra Tech's chief engineer Bill Brownlie said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

"We believe that any false claims that have been made can be addressed by re-sampling and analyzing the areas in question. Therefore, Tetra Tech is proposing to pay for an independent third party contractor to validate our work and to demonstrate that it was performed properly and to the Navy's specifications," Brownlie said.

The engineer added, "We're fully confident that a scientific fact-based and independent resampling analysis will prove that the claims against us are false."

Tetra Tech first began cleaning up radiation at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in 2002. The area had been slated for redevelopment and was divided up into parcels.

However, starting in 2010, workers contracted by Tetra Tech claimed that data on the firm's cleanup had been falsified and manipulated in order to minimize evidence of soil contamination, according to the environmental watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER).

In September, the Navy released a preliminary analysis of the cleanup specifically at two of the site's parcels and determined that nearly half of the samples taken from the site had in fact been falsified or manipulated.

In the Navy's findings, 15 percent of the soil samples at Parcel B needed retesting, while 49 percent of soil samples at Parcel G were in need of retesting.

Then in December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Department of Public Health, independently reviewed the Navy's report and found further signs of potential falsification, manipulation and data quality concerns at the parcels.

The agencies recommended re-sampling for roughly 90 percent of Parcel B and re-sampling for about 97 percent of Parcel G.

"In summary, the data analyzed showed a widespread pattern of practices that appear to show deliberate falsification, failure to complete the work in a manner required...or both," John Chesnutt, a regional EPA Superfund manager, wrote to the Navy on Dec. 17.

Chesnutt's letter to the Navy was made public earlier this month by PEER after the organization obtained it in a Freedom of Information Act request.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.