There may be more radioactive material on Treasure Island than was once believed or revealed. Now, health officials are scrambling to test and certify the island as safe before a 20,000 resident community is built on the decommissioned military island.
In 2010, after workers unexpectedly found radioactive material and soil, California Department of Public Health officials have been trying to find out how much contamination could be on the island. However, the Navy has been hesitant to discuss the issue, especially via email and memos.
Some 1,500-soil samples were taken from all over island and tested for chemical contamination, but not for radioactivity. However, several shipments from the Island contained high levels of radioactivity, which temporarily halted clean up as workers had inadvertently handled the materials.
It is now known that the Treasure Island Naval Station was used as a base for salvage operations, and some of the berthed ships could have been radioactively contaminated.
From the Bay Citizen:
As U.S. Navy officials readied a report this summer acknowledging a broader history of radioactive contamination at Treasure Island, they also sought to prevent California health officials from adding to the written record their concerns that the cleanup had been mishandled, according to internal emails.
The Navy acknowledged for the first time on Aug. 6 that the former Treasure Island Naval Station, where San Francisco plans to build a 20,000-resident high-rise community, was home to a repair and salvage operation for the Pacific fleet and that some of those ships could have been contaminated with radiation. The draft report also said that a school preparing sailors for nuclear warfare might have left behind radioactive residue.
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