SF-Owned Hunters Point Parcels Soil Testing Falsified

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SF-Owned Hunters Point Parcels Soil Testing Falsified

EPA Finds 93% of Soil Samples Unreliable on Parcels Transferred to City in 2015


Washington, DC — The radiation cleanup of Hunters Point shipyard keeps spinning backward with new findings that almost all soil samples on land transferred to San Francisco in 2015 are flawed by “potential falsification, data manipulation. and/or data quality concerns,” according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The parcels now in question border the portion of the site already developed and occupied.

In a March 30, 2018 letter to the U.S. Navy, as well as state, regional, and city officials, EPA Remedial Project Manager Lily Lee writes that the soil tests on four parcels “demonstrate a widespread pattern of practices that appear to show deliberate falsification, failure to perform the work in a manner required…or both.” The parcels EPA identified as now “suspect” are D-2, UC-1, UC-2, and UC-3.

“Documents emerging in recent weeks show that the radiation testing for soil covering most of the shipyard and its buildings are inaccurate and utterly useless from a public health standpoint,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who obtained this latest EPA review under the Freedom of Information Act, noting that this sampling was also done by the Navy’s now infamous contractor Tetra Tech. “Anyone who now says they are certain that Hunters Point is safe is about as credible as these bogus samples.”

This latest EPA reevaluation of Tetra Tech site testing is also notable because –

  • The Navy admitted that 61% of its samples were flawed while EPA and a “technical team including national experts in health, physics, geology, and statistics” found “an additional 32% of the survey units” questionable. Altogether, only 6% of the soil tests “had no signs of falsification”;
  • EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substance Control concurred in a “Finding of Suitability to Transfer” these now suspect parcels to the city as recently as 2015; and
  • These parcels abut the portion of the Hunters Point site already redeveloped and inhabited.

In addition, the March 30 EPA letter was copied to Amy Brownell of the San Francisco Department of Public Health who has worked on the Hunters Point cleanup for 25 years. She was quoted in the May 30, 2018 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle saying “These stories about contamination are true and fascinating, but a lot of them are old — the contamination has been cleaned up. We can say definitively there are no public safety concerns or health concerns out here.”

“This city official knew about these problems for months but did not share this information with the public she is supposed to serve,” added Ruch. “San Francisco may have to clean its own house if it is to ensure that Hunters Point is properly remediated.”

In April, PEER obtained EPA documents showing that nearly all the soil sampling in Parcels B and G, covering 40% of the site, appear to be fabricated. Last month, PEER posted a 2018 Navy report concluding that most building surveys on six parcels across the 500-acre site “have been falsified and cannot be used.”


Read the latest EPA review of soil samples

View findings of suitability and the Navy transfer announcement

Look at similar soil sampling flaws on other parcels

See Navy admission of unreliable building surveys

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