2016-02-28 letter F Vera to M Aycock USEPA – George AFB Radiological Decontamination Centers

Frank Vera III
GeorgeAFB.Info
BaseFamilyHousing.Info
PO Box 1313
Jamestown, CA, 95327-1313
Phone: 209-782-4541

28 February 2016
By Email: Aycock.Mary@epamail.epa.gov

Mary Aycock
EPA Site Manager George AFB
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-972-3289

Re: George AFB’s Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Radiological Decontamination Centers

Ms. Aycock:

With the recent declassification and/or release of documents, through FOIA, by the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), we now know that there were several Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Radiological Decontamination Centers at the former George Air Force Base, CA (George AFB) – EPA Superfund ID: CA2570024453.

I learned of the Radiological Decontamination Centers while attending an EPA/DOD workshop in the early 1990s, when the wife of a former Air Force pilot told me of her husband’s involvement in the Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing program for which planes flew out of George AFB, and returned to the George AFB Radiological Decontamination Centers.  At the next several Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings, I asked Denise Caron, and later Sandra L. Cuttino, both Civil Engineers/Base Environmental Coordinators for George AFB, if George AFB was involved in the Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing program, and if there were any Radiological Decontamination Centers at George Air Force Base.  Ms. Caron and Ms. Cuttino, and numerous other Air Force employees, repeatedly and emphatically denied that George AFB was ever involved in the Nuclear Weapons Testing Program or the existence of the Radiological Decontamination Centers at George AFB.  Additionally, the Air Force (AF) and Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) have repeatedly blocked the release of records pertaining to the radiological contamination at George AFB that were requested under FOIA by: citing unjustified exemptions, For Official Use Only (FOUO), unnecessary redaction, excessive processing fees, denial of Public Interest Fee Waivers, and News Media Fee Waivers.  These have been used without adequate legal justifications for such withholdings.

Typically, these Radiological Decontamination Centers created an enormous amount of highly radioactive waste, including water, degreasers, solvents, soil, aircraft, aircraft parts, aircraft engines, equipment, and clothing.

This radioactive waste has the potential to contaminate the aquifer beneath George AFB, and the Mojave River.  Because the Mojave River groundwater basin was adjudicated (City of Barstow, et al v. City of Adelanto, et al Riverside County Superior Court Case No. 208568) and has been in a state of overdraft for decades, this issue needs to be addressed openly and honestly to protect and restore this vital resource (Mojave River groundwater basin’s river and aquifer system).  However, this cannot be accomplished for the following reasons:

  • Air Force employees have repeatedly denied that George AFB was involved in the Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Program or that there were any Radiological Decontamination Centers at George AFB.
  • The Air Force has either failed to conduct OR TO RELEASE the Radiological Survey and Site Investigation of the Radiological Decontamination Centers.
  • The Air Force routinely blocks the release of records requested under FOIA pertaining to the environmental contamination at George AFB without adequate legal justifications.
  • The Air Force failed to notify the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) during the Public Health Assessment (PHA) for George AFB of the existence of:
    • George AFB’s Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Decontamination Centers for aircraft, crews, and equipment.
    • The large quantity of highly radioactive waste the decontamination centers would generate.
    • Where this highly radioactive waste was disposed of, including the decommissioned and radioactive aircraft, equipment, and clothing.
    • The potential completed exposure pathways (CEP) that this radioactive waste would create.

Please review the information and source documents in the Enclosures.

Ms. Aycock, the enclosed records provide ample evidence that there were several Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Radiological Decontamination Centers, in use for years, at the former George AFB.

Ms. Aycock, because the Air Force employees have apparently concealed the existence of the Radiological Decontamination Centers, and the nature and extent of contamination at George AFB, I am asking you to please do what is required of you in this situation as the EPA’s Site Manager for George AFB, and file a formal complaint with the Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Mueller, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, and Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter.  Please also forward this information to the EPA’s Criminal Enforcement Program.

Additionally, please require the Air Force to:

  • Conduct a thorough search for records, including aerial photographs, to determine the locations of Radiological Decontamination Centers.
  • Release, and if necessary, declassify ALL of the records pertaining to the radiological contamination and possible exposures to the radiological contamination at George AFB.
  • Conduct a Radiological Survey and Site Investigation of the Radiological Decontamination Centers, their radioactive runoff, and disposal sites.
  • Notify the ATSDR of the existence of the potential exposure pathways that this radioactive waste would create.
  • Request that the ATSDR conduct a NEW Public Health Assessment (PHA) for George AFB.
  • Notify the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) of the existence of the radioactive waste and of the potential for exposure.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Frank Vera III
GeorgeAFB.info
BaseFamilyHousing.info
PO Box 1313
Jamestown, CA 95327-1313
Phone: 209-782-4541

cc (via email):

Loren Henning
US EPA Region 9
415-972-3164
Henning.Loren@epamail.epa.gov

Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)
Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: 202-566-0200
aastanislaus@epa.gov

Linda Stone
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
530-542-5471
lstone@waterboards.ca.gov

Patty Kouyoumdjian
Executive Officer
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
(530) 542-5412
pzkouyoumdjian@waterboards.ca.gov

Lauri Kemper
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
(530) 542-5436
Lauri.Kemper@waterboards.ca.gov

Mike Plaziak
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
(760) 241-7325
Mike.Plaziak@waterboards.ca.gov

Felicia Marcus
CA Water Board Chair
(916) 341-5603
Felicia.Marcus@waterboards.ca.gov

Frances Spivy-Weber
CA Water Board Vice Chair
(916) 341-5264
Frances.Spivy-Weber@waterboards.ca.gov

Dorene D’Adamo
CA Water Board Member
(916) 341-5607
Dorene.Dadamo@waterboards.ca.gov

Kevin Graves
Chief
Underground Storage Tank and Site Cleanup Programs Section
Kevin.Graves@waterboards.ca.gov

Sven E. Rodenbeck, Sc.D., P.E., BCEE
Rear Admiral (retired), USPHS
ATSDR/DCHI
(770) 488-3660
SVR1@cdc.gov

Libby Vianu
Regional Representative
ATSDR Region IX
(415) 947-4319
Vianu.Libby@epa.gov

Steven Moore
CA Water Board Member
(916) 341-5624
Steven.Moore@waterboards.ca.gov

Tam M. Doduc
CA Water Board Member
(916) 341-5602
Tam.Doduc@waterboards.ca.gov

Steve McMasters
Supervisor
Brownfields/Dept. of Defense Unit
Steven.McMasters@waterboards.ca.gov

Karen Bessette
Brownfields/Dept. of Defense Unit
Karen.Bessette@waterboards.ca.gov

Phillip Crader
Asst. Deputy Director
Surface Water / Regulatory Branch
Phillip.Crader@waterboards.ca.gov

Brenton Laidler
Mojave Water Agency
Watermaster Technician II
(760) 946-7031
blaidler@mojavewater.org

Jeff Ruesch
Mojave Water Agency
Senior WR Data Analyst
(760) 946-7027
jruesch@mojavewater.org

David Seielstad
Mojave Water Agency
Senior Watermaster Technician
(760) 946-7028
dseielstad@mojavewater.org

Valerie Wiegenstein
Mojave Water Agency
Watermaster Services Manager
(760) 946-7026
vwiegenstein@mojavewater.org

John Rowan, President
Vietnam Veterans of America
jrowan@vva.org

Jane Williams, Director
Desert Citizens Against Pollution
(661) 256-2101
dcapjane@aol.com

Enclosures

  1. Letter from Dr. John Sabol, Chief of Environmental and Contract Programming for George AFB from 1976 to 1981 – Pre–Air Force Installation Restoration Program assessment of the Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA) for “Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste (HTRW)” it should be noted that this HTRW assessment does not appear in the AFCEC CERCLA Administrative Record
  2. Air Force History Index – Search “AIRCRAFT DECONTAMINATION CENTER AT GEORGE”
  3. FOIA response from DTRA “contamination of the soil and ground water, with radioactive isotopes, at the former George Air Force Base, California”
  4. ATSDR Public Health Assessment for George AFB – extracted pages “radiological contamination”
  5. Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE March to June 1953 – extracted pages George AFB
  6. DNA 6008F – Shots BOLTZMANN TO WILSON – 28 May To 18 June 1957 – extracted pages George AFB
  7. DNA 6005F – PLUMBBOB SERIES 1957 – extracted pages George AFB
  8. DNA 6007F – SHOTS WHEELER TO MORGAN 6 September to 7 October 1957 – extracted pages George AFB
  9. Shot PRISCILLA 24 June 1957 – extracted pages George AFB
  10. Shots DIABLO to FRANKLIN PRIME 15 July to 30 August 1957 – extracted pages George AFB

2016-02-28 letter F Vera to M Aycock USEPA - George AFB Radiological Decontamination Centers (PDF - 3.64 MB)

I am not a doctor or attorney, and cannot give medical advice or legal advice.

If you, a friend, or loved one has been injured or died as a result of the contamination at a DOD Superfund Site please follow the steps that are outlined at Get Help.

The views and opinions expressed in this website/articles are those of the authors and
do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the U.S. government

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply