|Richmond Lauritzen Channel More Contaminated Than Ever
December 19, 2011
United Heckathorn is a US EPA Superfund site in the Richmond Inner Harbor. The site was used to process DDT, dieldren and other now-banned compounds/pesticides through 1966. The hazardous waste clean-up in the mid-1990s left hazards on-site which triggered the requirement of a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Review every five years.
Despite the EPA directed cleanup, the September 2011 United Heckathorn US EPA Five Year Review (third five-year-review) concludes that levels of DDT and dieldren in channel fish are higher today than before the 1998 remediation . . . and are a threat to human health and the environment.
In May, 2011, the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued an updated fish advisory that recommends no consumption of fish from the Lauritzen Channel and recommends limited consumption of fish from San Francisco Bay. Signs on the waterfront last about a year or two before becoming weather beaten and degrade; signs are seldom noticed or read by individuals who are most likely in need of fish from the inner harbor as a food source . . . individuals of low income or who speak/read other languages. See an example of sign failure in the attached document – last page.
The US EPA has requested a Focused Feasibility Study to evaluate alternatives for addressing the high concentrations of DDT and dieldren in the channel sediment, water and fish tissues. The expected completion date of the new study is 2013.
The original channel dredging clean-up that ended in 1998 failed to keep humans and the environment safe. The result is the channel remains extremely contaminated and the fish, sediment and water are contaminating the entire San Francisco Bay.