Phase I Report Analysis


This March 2, 2007 Final Radiological Inspection Report, submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs, was completed by Pleasant Hill-based Millennium Consulting Associates under the direction of Mr. Michael Noel CIH, an amiable gentleman who actually gained the trust of the community when he addressed it in late November 2006 before commencing with Phase I. Problems arose when work he said he would oversee was not completed as we’ve noted in “Hide and Seek.”

Even more troubling are the some of the inaccuracies of this Phase I report, which we have reported on in “Million Dollar Maybe.” Now, with the VA prepared to spend $1 million on Phase II testing in the Spring of 2008, concerns have arisen as to the accuracy of the upcoming tests and the willingness of the VA, and whatever testing contractor(s) it hires, to actually find the radiological and chemical contamination and deal with it. The concern is that the VA will not exert due diligence in locating the known contaminants and then use that failure as a pretext to declare the site radiation-free when copious amounts of information, maps and eye-witness accounts prove otherwise.

There are a number of inaccuracies in the Phase I report that question the report’s viability. First off, Millennium did not cover the area that it promised the community it would when it made its “Brentwood Dog Park Hazard Assessment” November 27, 2006 in Brentwood that was covered in a November 30, 2006 story in the Los Angeles Times.

As we wrote, “Further troubling VA observers is the way Millennium Consulting is conducting its Phase One survey. Broad swaths of the 27 acres slated for surficial soil testing were missed, including the inclines of the dump’s main arroyo, land adjacent to Brentwood Theatre, and a considerable chunk of Barrington Recreation Center including part of the dog park. Millennium’s Noel says he won’t be revisiting Brentwood School, either. “It has been more than adequately addressed,” Noel told CityBeat on January 30 (2007).

The Phase I report also contains a number of incorrect identifications that question Millennium’s attention to detail including misidentifying the actual government entity that it was working for on the title page as the “Veterans Administration” when it actually is the “Department of Veterans Affairs.” Now that is a small, and common, mistake and is totally understandable.

However, the misidentification and mischaracterization of one of the two principals of EnviroReporter.com does cause concern, at least to this reporter. On page 10 of the document is this paragraph:

Mr. Michael Collins, an environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times Beat has continued to keep this site in the news and has raised questions regarding the ongoing safety of community residents to bring their dogs to the Brentwood Dog Park or allow their children to use the Brentwood Recreational Fields. Continued questions by the community, regarding these health issues, prompted the GLAHS to initiate what will hopefully become a final investigation of these sites. It is anticipated that these final evaluations will settle the concern regarding the potential health risks to the community residents (and their pets), who use these sites.

First off, there is no such newspaper called the “Los Angeles Times Beat.” Perhaps the report conjoined the Los Angeles Times with the newspaper Collins has worked for, Los Angeles CityBeat.

Also, Millennium seems to have already come to a conclusion about the safety of the park with the statement “what will hopefully become a final investigation of these sites. It is anticipated that these final evaluations will settle the concern regarding the potential health risks to the community residents (and their pets), who use these sites.” This apparent conclusion, along with the reticence of the VA to address the nuke dump issue throughout our investigation, does not inspire confidence in either the conclusions of the Phase I report or the undertaking of the Phase II investigation.

Nor does the fact that much of Millennium’s testing took part in the east arroyo where reports show that 5,000 truck loads of fill were dumped; a fact noted in “Nuke ‘Em High” but not noted in the report. To have spent the energy to test this area like this seems futile, and considering the cost of around $200,000, it would seem to be the most expensive weed-whacking job ever performed in Brentwood.

Certainly, community confidence in Phase II will be heightened if the VA, and its contractor(s), set off to find the dumped radioactive and chemical waste instead of setting off to prove it isn’t there, therefore isn’t a problem.