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Old Posted Jan 22, 2020, 12:06 AM
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Treasure Island residents sue to halt 8,000-home megaproject over contamination
By Laura Waxmann – Real Estate Reporter, San Francisco Business Times
Jan 21, 2020, 12:17pm PST Updated 13 minutes ago

Current and former residents of Treasure Island filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday saying they were misled about the island's toxic history

The lawsuit seeks $2 billion in damages, according to attorney Stanley Goff, who filed the suit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of 47 named plaintiffs. Goff said as many as 2,000 residents could be added and eligible for damages if they prevail in court.

The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Navy did not properly assess “the levels of cesium-137, a fission byproduct, in soil samples dating back to the 1970s” before entering into an agreement with San Francisco to allow civilians — many of whom were formerly homeless — to move to the island after the Navy ceased its operations there in 1997 . . . .

Named as defendants are developer Lennar and its offshoot, Five Point Holdings, and two Navy contractors involved in the island’s remediation, Tetra Tech E.C. and Shaw Environmental.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were aware of the extent of the island’s contamination and that it was not safe for habitation, but failed to warn residents . . . .

“In reality, contamination levels are some three times higher than the Navy reported, and 60 percent higher than the Navy's own safety guidelines,” the lawsuit alleges.

A Department of Toxic Substances Control spokesperson confirmed previously that dioxin, lead, petroleum and radioactive isotopes are among the chemicals of concern on the island . . . .

. . . the Navy . . . used the island for naval training exercises that included detecting and cleaning radioactive contamination from ships . . . .

I actually worked on Treasure Island in the 1980s in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. I worked directly with the Industrial Hygienists responsible for surveying for environmental hazards. I'm not aware of any radioactive materials in use or existing on the island. What the Navy did there was firefighting training including, I imagine radioactive cleanup but they didn't use actual radioactive material other than, perhaps, sealed samples to teach the students how to detect them. Treasure Island was very different from Hunters' Point which was an active shipyard where nuclear-powered ships were drydocked and repaired at one time. Everybody was well aware of the potential hazards in that activity which are many. But Treasure Island just had schools, barracks, family housing, the firefighting facility and piers where a reserve frigate squadron (not nuclear armed) docked. This latter activity might have led to some minor petroleum contamination (akin to any gas station) and the old buildings may have contained some asbestos and/or lead paint (like any WW II vintage neighborhood).

So I think this lawsuit is BS but undoubtedly it has the potential, like any lawsuit, to delay the project for years.
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