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Navy declares ‘no radiological health risk’ at Treasure Island

“Work performed for radiological monitoring and compliance support has been determined to be consistent and accurate”

An aerial photo of the SF waterfront, the bay, and Treasure Island. Photo by Shutterstock

According to a U.S. Navy report released in March, Treasure Island inhabitants have no reason to worry about radioactive remnants of nuclear testing at the onetime naval base or about the performance of Tetra Tech EC, the company whose workers allegedly covered up the results of radiation tests at Hunters Point and who also worked on Navy cleanup efforts on Treasure Island.

Among other things, the Navy audit concluded:

  • Tetra Tech EC was specifically the reason for this extra scrutiny: “Recent reporting in various media about work performed for the Navy by Tetra Tech EC (TTEC) at Treasure Island has generated community concerns and questions about the environmental site conditions at Treasure Island and reuse.”
  • Tetra Tech EC employees performed some soil analysis on the island similar to its work at Hunters Point: “TTEC analyzed up to 50 soil samples for gamma spectrometry collected during the non-radiological Feasibility Study data gap sampling [...] and, provided radiological support during groundwater monitoring and well head repair.”
  • But Tetra Tech EC did not have sole access to or authority on any element of the project: “All areas under radiological control were managed by other contractors before and after TTEC performed their work.” Navy auditors add, “the work was substantially limited in time and scope.”
  • The Navy says it found nothing wrong with Tetra Tech EC’s work at the site: “Work performed for radiological monitoring and compliance support has been determined to be consistent and accurate.”
  • The report insists that there is no public health danger on the island: “The Navy wants the public to know that the site conditions at Treasure Island present no health risk to those who live on, work on, or visit Treasure Island. [...] No contamination was found before or after TTEC conducted their work. [...] here is no radiological health risk to the community.”

The federal government is currently suing Tetra Tech EC over its work at Hunters Point.

Tetra Tech EC employees reportedly rigged and forged soil tests at Hunters Point to cover up residual radiation at the site in the wake of plans for thousands of new homes.

In 2017, two former Tetra Tech EC employees pleaded guilty to related charges and received eight-month prison sentences. The litigation alleges that the guilty parties did not work alone and that Tetra Tech EC managers oversaw the cover-up.

But the Navy insists that Tetra Tech EC did nothing wrong at Treasure Island.

David Anton, a lawyer representing Tetra Tech whistleblowers, expressed skepticism about the Navy report in comments to the San Francisco Examiner, noting that the Navy also did not notice problems at Hunters Point for years because “they weren’t trying to find the problem.”

Like Hunters Point, Treasure Island is scheduled for development of thousands of new homes in the coming years.

In 2012, the Department of Public Health warned that past Navy efforts to decontaminate Treasure Island sites downplayed the extent of radioactive materials on the island.