Radioactive Waste Around The Bay Area Triggers New Testing At Parks

"RICHMOND, Calif. — Beyond a chain-link fence topped with spiraled barbed wire, swaying coastal grasses conceal a cache of buried radioactive waste and toxic pesticides from a bygone chemical plant.

Warning signs along the Richmond, Calif., site’s perimeter attempt to discourage trespassers from breaching the locked gates, where soil testing has detected cancer-causing gamma radiation more than 60 times higher than background levels in some places.

For most of the 20th century, the former Stauffer Chemical Co. disposed of thousands of tons of industrial waste near its factory grounds along Richmond’s southeast shoreline. In the last two decades, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has overseen the investigation into the extent of contamination, revealing elevated radioactivity underground and at the surface. Testing also found hazardous levels of heavy metals, including brain-damaging lead, and the banned pesticide Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).

But the barbed-wire-ringed Richmond site wasn’t Stauffer’s only dumping ground."

Tony Briscoe reports for the Los Angeles Times May 14, 2024.

Source: LA Times, 05/15/2024