A company charged with cleaning up the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco has now been accused of falsifying records and passing off radioactive soil as clean. In April, Tetra Tech, was caught falsifying soil sampling reports. The dirt in question was to be reused throughout the city, but it poses serious health risks to the community, such as bone cancer.
According to NBC Bay Area, Tetra Tech’s soil samples were supposed to be collected from Parcel E, where new developments are to be built, including homes, stores, and parks.. However, the Pasadena-based company intentionally collected samples from other areas that had already been cleared with low levels of contamination.
Bert Bowers, Tetra Tech’s Radiological Safety Consultant, claimed that corners were cut to save time and money.
“The samples were fake. The report was fake,” said Bowers.
So what now?
Bowers was fired for releasing the information, and the Navy is currently retesting the grounds. Naval officials are also going back and checking other areas Tetra Tech claimed were safe. So far, the retested areas have shown higher levels of contamination than initially documented by TetraTech.
The company has profited handsomely, receiving more than $300 million in taxpayer money. Tetra Tech claims to have taken corrective action since the incident occurred.
This is not the first time Hunters Point has been at the center of concerns about health risks. According to Indybay.org, it is the most toxic place in the nation. In Aug. 2012 an underground fire at Hunters Point led to the release of chemicals, including Carbon Monoxide, Formaldehyde and Arcolein. No data sampling was done during that fire; Samples were only collected much later, and the people affected were told that the risks, if any, would be short term.
89 percent of the community are minorities and those who live in the area have higher rates of breast cancer, asthma, and diabetes.
While these issues seem to have gone unnoticed by the city, The San Francisco Housing Authority claims, “…to deliver safe and decent housing for low income residents.” Until Hunters Point is entirely cleaned up and done right, these rates will only continue to grow.