On August 8, 2007, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) provided EnviroReporter.com, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press the link to a page on Waxman’s website that contained 86 documents with over 5,600 pages of material on the West Los Angeles VA. These VA-related documents, given to Waxman by the now former Secretary of the VA, R. James Nicholson, contain much information, some of which we have covered in “Nuke ‘Em High” and “Million Dollar Maybe,” are fully explored here as they relate to the dump. Nicholson’s cover letter reiterates VA concern over their own draft report that stated there is low-level biomedical nuclear waste under Brentwood School’s VA-leased athletic fields.
These document files highlight what we find interesting in each of the files and include the links to the original PDF’s on Waxman’s site. We cover the information we have unearthed here which is part of our ongoing investigation of the biomedical nuclear and chemical dump in Brentwood, California. Understanding this data is crucial to grasping the challenges posed by this dump that stretches throughout VA land including under adjacent Barrington Dog Park and the 20 acres that Brentwood School leases from the VA.
These documents are listed according to the number they are designated on Waxman’s website and are further encoded to indicate which page certain sections are on according to the PDF page designation on the provided material. A letter after the designation refers to separate snippets on one page. For example, the designations 13.4.a and 13.4.b refer to Waxman document 13, page 4, section a, which is followed by section b on the same page. These designations facilitate any research into the original documents on the Waxman’s site and also make it easier to keep track of where the information came from.
These documents make clear what we have been reporting all along but raise many questions, not the least of which is ‘has the VA or Brentwood School ever bothered to read these reports?’ and, if so, have they failed to comprehend what is in these documents or have they simply chosen to ignore the facts of this admittedly complicated issue? Then the question becomes ‘why?’
This December 12, 2006 letter from former VA Secretary Nicholson to Rep. Waxman complains of the congressman posting the PricewaterhouseCoopers draft report that shows radioactive contaminants being under Brentwood School fields, as we’ve covered in “Nuke ‘Em High.” No corrected report exists.
Waxman Document 13 shows how the VA and MicroTech planned to deal with a pesky investigative journalist who was asking too many questions about the Brentwood VA nuclear dump.
Waxman Document 28 reveals how MicroTech initially documented biomedical nuclear waste being under the Shared Property that forms Brentwood School’s football fields, then reversed itself under pressure, and then reversed itself again.
Waxman Document 29 identifies buildings that historically were involved in animal and human biomedical radiation research. Those building still stand today as part of the VA’s nuclear testing area.
Waxman Document 30 shows how MicroTech completed its double-reversal and where the information about radiation being buried under Brentwood School’s fields came from in the draft PricewaterhouseCoopers September 2005 report.
Waxman Document 41 is the contract between the VA and Brentwood School. It shows how the school should have known about the contamination on its Shared Property and how, despite rules against it, has allowed alcohol consumption by parents on this VA land where it should be prohibited.
Waxman Document 77 contains numerous VA environmental documents from 1981-1983 about the nuke dump, including a 1983 report showing that boring has already taken place on the property and failed to find radioactive waste. One document hints that radioactive cadavers may be on the property.
Waxman Document 78 reveals that 134,000 cubic yards of dirt from underneath a helipad on the VA south of Wilshire, was used for fill at the Brentwood School fields. Copper, lead, ethylbezene, Xylenes, and TPH-diesel were detected in the samples.
Waxman Document 79 documents pollutants plaguing the Brentwood School fields, including syringes, and also reports how the entire area was used a dump for decades.
Waxman Document 80 is a Locus report from 2000 that documents extensive contamination on the Shared Property and includes maps of where possibly-radioactive ash was buried on this VA property.
Waxman Document 81 shows that the soil under Brentwood School fields, both upper and lower, are contaminated with extremely high amounts of poisonous arsenic and thallium, even when testing for these toxic heavy metals seemed to deliberately sample in the wrong areas.
June 19, 2001 – Public Health Statement on thallium from ATSDR , Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,describes the properties of this soft bluish-white metal that, until 1972, was used for rat poison. According to a report generated during the building of Brentwood School’s athletic fields, samples of soil said to be representative of the entire property
October 2004 – EPA’s Preliminary Remediation Goals for soil. PRGs are levels that are protective of the public and environment. Tests for heavy metals at Brentwood School revealed that the EPA’s “chronic” soil dermal-ingest combined for thallium’s PRG was exceeded on average of 1.68 times with a high of nearly three times. Such high levels of thallium are usually found at toxic waste dumps.