Hunters Point residents, homeowners, and the U.S. government are all suing Tetra Tech over what they say was a sham cleanup effort at the Naval Shipyard. Now add about 400 San Francisco police officers to the long list of plaintiffs.
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard radioactive soil cleanup effort has been dogged for years by allegations of deliberately false testing results, as the site may still contain radiation from its use in the 1960s as a nuclear research site. A blockbuster 2018 Curbed exposé showed widespread faking of soil test results going back to at least 2012, and indeed, two supervisors from the environmental consulting firm Tetra Tech were sentenced to prison for falsifying soil samples. Lawsuits continue to pile up against Tetra Tech, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports that more than 400 SFPD officers are suing Tetra Tech too, alleging that the site’s radiation gave officers and their families asthma, blood disorders, lung cancer, and was even “a substantial factor” in two officers’ deaths.
“I believe it was a botched-up job,” retired cop Mark Madsen told the Chronicle, having worked at the site for years. “Guys are getting sick. Guys are sick from being out there.”
The San Francisco Business Times notes that this lawsuit “joins dozens of others filed against Tetra Tech, with plaintiffs ranging from local Bayview residents, condo owners who purchased homes at the site and the U.S. government.”
The Chronicle rightly toots their own horn, as it was their 2018 investigation that found a Hunters Point facility known as Building 606 — once called the “Radioactive Laundry” because they cleaned contaminated clothing there — was used by several SFPD units like SWAT team, bomb squad, and K-9 Unit. Two of those German shepherds developed cancer and died, the tap water tasted contaminated, and several officers contracted cancer (two have died).
Officers who worked at Building 606 routinely complained of headaches and rashes. Reports of these conditions increased after a 2000 radioactive waste fire at the site, and in 2007 when Tetra Tech allegedly dumped tons more toxic soil there. Retired sergeant Dan Linehan told the Chronicle that a curious dust was prevalent on the site, and that a moist paper towel “would be jet black by the time you were done wiping down your workspace.”
Tetra Tech spokesperson Sam Singer, a crisis PR guy who’s been described as “the master of disaster” for his efforts to make public relations nightmares go away, said in a statement to the Chronicle that the lawsuit was “without merit” and the radioactive cleanup “was done properly and to the standards of the contracts with the Navy.”
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