[2015 – While EnviroReporter.com‘s reporting on the Brentwood biomedical nuclear dump partially under Barrington Dog Park stopped then-President George W. Bush’s $4 billion plan to privatize and develop VA land, nothing has been remediated.]
Correspondent John North with interviewees Charles Dorman, West LA VA Director; Dan Hirsch, Committee to Bridge the Gap president
FEMALE ANCHOR: A controversy has surfaced over some radioactive waste that was buried years ago in an area that is now a public park and a Veterans Administration Hospital. Eyewitness News reporter John North has more from Brentwood.
[Helicopter POV — swooping over dump]
JOHN NORTH: What is undisputed is that down there, either in the ravine or on top of it, the VA and UCLA dumped radioactive waste in the 1950s and `60s. Two rough maps, one from the city, the other from the Veterans Administration, show the dump or waste burial bleeds over into a corner of the Barrington Recreational Center Park, and part of it the dog park. Down below are tennis courts and soccer fields. It’s Veterans Administration land leased to Los Angeles.
[POV of West LA VA Director Charles Dorman]
CHARLES DORMAN: To the best of our knowledge, there is no radioactive material near the park, the dog runs or the athletic fields.
[POV of activist Dan Hirsch]
NORTH: Dan Hirsch has spent much of his life warning of the dangers of nuclear waste. The records he has shows that among the waste buried on or near the site are carbon 14 and tritium, just two of twelve radioactive substances.
DAN HIRSCH: I’m not sure that there’s a hazard but I am absolutely not sure that there isn’t. They buried radioactive materials and toxic chemicals for a couple decades. They have the records only for the second decade.
[POV of Charles Dorman and Ben Spivey]
NORTH: Sitting in on the interview with the VA’s Charles Dorman was Ben Spivey, he the head of the VA’s Occupational Safety and Health. He says the old maps aren’t very good. [POV of maps] The newer ones, he says, show that all the waste is in the ravine, since buried under thirty feet of fill. [POV of nuke dump ravine] The VA commissioned Pricewaterhouse (sic) to study the site. It appears to conclude that the radioactive material was under the fields. The VA insists that there’s no hazard.
[POV of Charles Dorman]
DORMAN: I think that the PricewaterhouseCooper’s audit perhaps wasn’t accurate in their language as they should have been.
NORTH: So Dorman is going to try again. He will commission another study from an independent contractor.
DORMAN: I think it was Mark Twain who had this saying; “There’s the truth, the real truth and the honest-to-God truth.” I’m willing to go out and spend our limited resources to try and identify what the honest-to-God truth is on this issue and I will share them with the public.
[POV of Dan Hirsch]
NORTH: Hirsch isn’t optimistic about the believability of any new study.
HIRSCH: What we don’t know is what may be more dangerous than what we do know. They won’t even know where to take the core samples because they don’t know where the waste was buried in the 1950s.
MALE ANCHOR: That was John North reporting.