While still maintaining that the biomedical and nuclear dump on its property is green open space, an official from the West Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs indicated that the VA will eventually address the dump. The remarks came at a March 1 monthly meeting of the Brentwood Community Council at the Brentwood Kaufman Library near the sprawling VA campus
“So the master plan identified that space as green space that’s open right now,” said Vince Kane, VA’s special master plan liaison in response to an EnviroReporter.com question. “There’s no plan for any kind of development on that. Part of what we’ve committed to, and we said to you in the past, as well as made clear that we will be moving forward with NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] and doing a full environmental analysis of the campus.”
The space is actually fenced off with “DO NOT ENTER” signs and is under the ultimate control of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The only people accessing it are youth retrieving soccer balls kicked into it from the VA’s MacArthur Field adjacent the burial site.
A brush fire recently burned part of the dump, which stretches up under land leased by Brentwood School, as reported in Brentwood nuke dump burns as VA finalizes draft master plan February 7. EnviroReporter.com first reported on the toxic waste landfill in 2006 and again exposed the site’s environmental dangers and VA’s refusal to face them with West LA VA ‘master plan’ covers up its chemical and nuclear dump last December 17.
The Administration’s refusal to address these environmental challenges appears to have changed. Indeed, both Kane and the new director of the West LA VA, Ann R. Brown, a take-charge health administrator veteran who Kane introduced to the council, acknowledged that they were aware of the $2 million dump testing done from 2007 to 2010 instigated by EnviroReporter.com reporting.
“If there is, you know, clear findings of any kind of toxic environment we will be addressing that and remediating it so we’ve made that commitment,” Kane said. “We’ve made that clear. I think we’ve even begun to post some things on our web page given some of the recent attention that’s been brought to, you know, some of how the campus has been used to bury things in the past. That will be fully remediated if it’s indeed identified as a hazard.”
Those VA dump tests showed that radioactive tritium was being continually sucked out of the groundwater under the dump. Repeated exposure to this tritium comes from dust released from cutting back the area’s brush and grass and arson, as was proved January 26 next to the soon to be closed Barrington dog park.
High radium, benzene and choloroform were also detected, the result of years of covert UCLA and VA biomedical dumping in an area that would be ideal for master plan rejuvenation if the contamination were dug out. Now there’s a chance that it will be. That in and of itself is reason for cautious optimism. The VA’s Brentwood nuclear and chemical dump’s continued danger may soon be dealt with, after all.