Exclusive 2019 Update: VICTORY AT THE VA – West LA Veterans Administration master plan protects old nuclear dump from development

2019 EnviroReporter.com Comments on West LA VA Master Plan Environmental Impact Statement
February 13, 2019
Michael Collins breaks down all that is wrong with the West LA VA Master Plan again reminding planners that the dump is not open space and cannot be developed without full remediation under the auspices of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Mischaracterizations of radioactive and chemical toxins present in the dump are corrected and other more technical issues are addressed in full by someone who has investigated the Brentwood dump since 2001. Amazingly, most of Collins’ important recommendations are embraced in incredible environmental victory that serves Veterans and the Brentwood community.
Reported on May 20, 2019 in Victory at the VA

VA Response to Public Comments on West LA VA Preliminary Draft Final Master Plan
February 2, 2016
The VA completely ignores EnviroReporter.com‘s input on the nuclear and biomedical dump. Even with VA’s $2 million in dump testing confirming its existence and toxicity as well as its contamination mobility, the VA won’t address it when we put it right to them.
Reported on February 9, 2016 in Brentwood nuke dump burns as VA finalizes draft master plan

Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Campus Draft Master Plan
January 29, 2016
The “revised framework” Draft Master Plan states that comments were “carefully reviewed and considered,” the only mention of the dump is a three-paragraph blurb about the “inactive waste burial site” in the Existing Conditions and Site Analysis section. There, the VA declares that the dump presents no health risks and that the VA will “further consider potential impacts associated with the draft master plan and the waste burial site in its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis.”
Reported on February 9, 2016 in Brentwood nuke dump burns as VA finalizes draft master plan

EnviroReporter.com comments on West LA VA Preliminary Draft Final Master Plan
December 7, 2015
“Building in the dump area before thoroughly excavating it could lead to uncontrolled radiological and chemical releases to the environment, threaten the health and safety of workers during excavation and construction and of Veterans living in this part of the VA in the future. Impacted dust from excavation and construction could impact the public in apartments and condominiums along the dump on Barrington Avenue if excavation of the contamination doesn’t take place first.”
Complete comment PDF [1 pages; 24 KB]
Reported on December 17, 2015 in West LA VA ‘master plan’ covers up its chemical and nuclear dump

VA WLA Campus Preliminary Draft Final Master Plan
October 22, 2015
[889 pages; 112.85 MB]
No mention of biomedical nuclear & chemical dump investigated in 2009-2010 in $2 million tests. Oblique references to dump exist in report such as:
P. 201/889: “Arroyo
The arroyo design scheme respects the existing formal neighborhoods, but also acknowledges that a great deal of the site remains very natural and is not as appropriate for rigid formal planning geometries. The north part of the site in particular, has significant topography, terraced landforms, hills, and a gully. The connecting circulation spine in this scheme flows across the curve of the existing landscape and weaves through the more formal areas to the south.”
Reported on December 17, 2015 in West LA VA ‘master plan’ covers up its chemical and nuclear dump

Phase II Evaluation of the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center Campus Arroyo Adjacent to Barrington Park
April 15, 2011
West LA VA main page for the results of its $2 million testing of its Brentwood nuclear and chemical biomedical dump.
Reported on December 17, 2015 in West LA VA ‘master plan’ covers up its chemical and nuclear dump

Allwest Geoscience Executive Summary for West LA VA – December 10, 2010
[3 pages; 136 KB]
Summary of initial subsurface investigation of buried medical waste resulting from historic medical research and disposal practices at the West LA VA. “[T]wo areas investigated include a baseball field and an area known as the “Arroyo” or “Eastern Canyon”. The ‘Arroyo/Eastern Canyon’ has been previously identified as a burial area for former medical waste, including animal carcasses, medical isotope waste in radiological scintillation vials and other miscellaneous medical debris.”
VOLUME 1 [156 pages; 4.72 MB]
VOLUME 2 [243 pages; 5.78 MB]
VOLUME 3 [343 pages; 4.92 MB]
These VA tests cost $2 million and were reported on December 17, 2015 in West LA VA ‘master plan’ covers up its chemical and nuclear dump

December 17, 2009 – VA Statement on Barrington Park Environmental Study
After refusing to answer detailed questions about the soldiers’ tombstones in the biomedical nuclear and chemical dump, West LA VA director Donna Beiter claims grave markers treated appropriately. Bieter goes on to say that the $1 million testing in limited area of eastern arroyo in dump is to “put to rest any concerns that our property is unsafe.”

December 16, 2009 – Collins to VA Questions
Detailed questions of the West LA VA about the soldiers’ tombstones and the limited testing in the dump that appear to be coring for samples far from where VA’s own maps show the nuclear and chemical dump to be. The VA refused to answer these questions which Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) requested, and got, a copy of.

November 24, 2009 – Pratt to Collins Responses to Questions
Head of Brentwood School, Michael J. Pratt, selectively answers EnviroReporter.com and the LA Weekly‘s questions about heavy metal contamination, syringes under the football field and alcohol drinking on its 20 acres leased from the VA.

November 24, 2009 – Collins to Pratt Questions
Information requested regarding EnviroReporter.com’s extensive analysis of VA and Brentwood School reports showing evidence of heavy metal and biomedical debris contamination under the school’s athletic fields.

December 19, 2007 — KCET “Life & Times” program “Nuclear Biomedical Waste Buried in Brentwood”
Includes VA comment in transcript: “From our perspective, there’s nothing to get out. In other words, it’s a safe environment.” This suggests that despite their own records of what was dumped, maps of where the dump is, and public and political pressure to find the radiation waste and remove it; the VA maintains there’s nothing to find yet they will spend $1 million anyway.

August 8, 2007 — Congressman Henry Waxman releases over 5,600 pages of VA documents including dump information
EnviroReporter.com’s analysis of the pertinent 86 West LA VA- related reports on the Brentwood biomedical nuclear dump. The pertinent reports are snipped, pasted and analyzed in these files by EnviroReporter.com.

March 2, 2007 — Millennium Consulting’s Phase I testing results – EnviroReporter.com Analysis
This report on the December 2006 sampling of Barrington Dog Park, arroyos of the dump and Brentwood School’s football field is valuable if for nothing more than its suggestions for Phase II.

November 30, 2006 Los Angeles Times article on Brentwood VA nuclear dump
Once this article came out, Brentwood School began testing its property.

August 23, 2007 — Letter from Congressman Waxman to then-Secretary of the VA, R. James Nicholson
Waxman presses Nicholson for the results of the Phase I testing, which were originally due in January 26, 2007. Due to concerns about the methodology, Waxman asked “which portions of the West LA Campus Millenium Consulting Associates is testing.”

January 30, 2007 — Letter from Brentwood School’s Head of School Michael D. Pratt to parents and colleagues
Pratt announces test results that indicate no “radioactivity above normal background levels.” He goes on to say that PricewaterhouseCoopers “publicly renounced responsibility for the report, and the V.A. has confirmed publicly that the report was wrong to the extent that it indicated that radioactive materials were ever buried under the school’s athletics complex.” There is no indication in the 5,600 pages of documents obtained by Congressman Waxman that either PricewaterhouseCoopers or the VA made any such statements.

January 22, 2007 — Letter from Pratt to then-Secretary of the VA, R. James Nicholson
Pratt asks Secretary Nicholson to correct the MicroTech LLC report that said “that radioactive biomedical waste was buried under land that Brentwood School shares with the VA.” No report of any such correction by Nicholson has surfaced before or since he stepped down October 1, 2007.

November 27, 2006 — Brentwood Dog Park Hazard Assessment
Michael Noel, president of Millennium Consulting Associates and project leader of the dump testing, gave the community a detailed look at how his team will tackle this unprecedented testing.

November 7, 2006 — Brentwood Dog Park Environmental Assessment — Proposed Project Schedule
This schedule by Millennium Consulting Associates had one week of Phase One assessment shortened. This week may be “front-loaded” onto the Phase Two in Spring 2007.

June 13, 2006 — Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Eleventh District letter to VA Secr. James Nicholson
Rosendahl demands that revelations unearthed by EnviroReporter.com and Los Angeles CityBeat/ValleyBeat are “dealt with in a comprehensive manner. In addition to investigating the entire area around the unlined waste disposal sites, possible groundwater contamination must also be investigated.”

March 27, 2006 — House Committee on Government Reform letter to VA
Reps. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) demand contracts between VA and PricewaterhouseCoopers and answers about the VA nuke dump. “Has the public been informed that contaminates are buried under or near the location of the Brentwood School athletic facility? Whose decision was it to leave the non-excavated radioactive medical waste in place?”

January 11, 2006 FOIA PricewaterhouseCoopers-VA Contract
This is woefully incomplete and heavily redacted document is the result of a Freedom of Information Act request for the PwC/VA contract that cost taxpayers nearly $10 million.

November 17, 2005 EnviroReporter Questions for PricewaterhouseCoopers
PwC eventually answered these questions regarding the nuke dump being under Brentwood School. The VA, however, refused to allow Michael Collins to see their responses. Only after a Nov. 30, 2006 Los Angeles Times article on the testing of the dump did the VA reveal that MicroTech LLC was the actual company hired by the VA to do the study that revealed that nuclear waste and asbestos-containing material are still buried under Brentwood School’s athletic fields.

September 22, 2005 CARES Presentation
This document illuminates the CARES options developed for the West LA VA and was presented at the last public meeting at the Wadsworth Theatre.

September 22, 2005 CARES Supplemental Site Plans
More information regarding options for the West LA VA.

September 22, 2005 — Summary of CARES Meeting
This is a detailed synopsis of the last public meeting at the Wadsworth Theatre.

August 2005 — PriceWaterhouseCoopers Draft Report
Pages 62 – 64 contain information regarding nuclear material under Brentwood School’s athletic fields.

June 29, 2005 — National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
“The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial,” said Richard R. Monson, the panel chairman and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

1996 — The Human Radiation Experiments — Final Report of the President’s Advisory Committee
From report: “[B]y 1974, according to VA reports, more than 2,000 human radiation experiments would be performed at VA facilities, many of which would work in tandem with neighboring medical schools, such as the relationship between the UCLA medical school, where Stafford Warren was now dean, and the Wadsworth (West Los Angeles) VA Hospital.”

Human Experimentation at UCLA
Included in a 1996 Department of Energy report on human radiation testing are 23 UCLA experiments noted here. They included the use of thirteen radionuclides including Iodine-131, or radioiodine, like that injected into this man and rabbit in a 1956 joint UCLA-Veterans Administration experiment.

Exclusive 2019 Update: VICTORY AT THE VA – West LA Veterans Administration master plan protects old nuclear dump from development