No Radioactive Waste Found at Richmond Site By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday January 17, 2006

A test dig at the Richmond shoreline site where a retired UC Berkeley worker said barrels of possible radioactive waste had been buried has turned up no evidence of radioactivity or barrels, a state agency reported. 

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reported the results last week following the conclusion of the dig at a site between Marina Bay and the UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station. 

“No metal drums were found and no evidence of metal drums was observed” during the investigation, DTSC Public Information Officer Angela Blanchette said. 

State officials had been alerted to the site (known as Meeker Beach) by Rick Alcaraz, who said he and other university employees had dumped drums from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the site three decades ago. 

A preliminary UC Berkeley exploration had determined that metal had been buried beneath the surface at the site, and the agency hired a private contractor, Engineering/Remediation Resources Group (EERG) of Concord, to conduct a test dig at the site to search for radioactivity. 

The site is no longer located on UC property but on land owned by the Richmond Redevelopment Agency, which gave permission for the survey and subsequent excavations. 

EERG dug two 12-foot-deep trenches at the site Monday, and “no metal drums were found and no evidence of metal drums was observed in either trench,” reported the DTSC in a report issued Tuesday morning. 

Detection equipment also recorded no readings of radioactivity or harmful volatile organic compounds above normal background levels.