Victorville Federal Correctional Complex

Logo BOP No Deed – Transfer Document Is Not Public Information

If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) requires the Air Force to make full disclosure of known and suspected contaminants when the property is transferred. Why are the Department of Defense (DoD), Air Force (AF), and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) blocking the release of the Deed Restrictions for Parcel K?


Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) / Weapons Storage Areas (WSA)

Weapons Storage Areas (WSA) - Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC)The Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) was built on the site of one of the Weapons Storage Areas (WSA) for the former George Air Force Base, CA, “Superfund ID: CA2570024453.″

The DOD and Air Force did a Federal-to-Federal transfer of Parcel K to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Parcel K contains the former South Weapons Storage Area (WSA) where the Victorville FCC was built.

The Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) at the former George Air Force Base consists of three facilities:

  1. FCI Victorville Medium I
  2. FCI Victorville Medium II
  3. United States Penitentiary, Victorville

United States Penitentiary (USP) in Atwater / Weapons Storage Areas (WSA)

A Federal-to-Federal transfer was also done with Castle Air Force Base’s WSA where the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Atwater, CA was built.

“For example, the $100 million, maximum security penitentiary in Atwater, Calif., east of San Francisco, occupies the former Castle Air Force Base, once part of the Cold War era Strategic Air Command. The recently built prison is on a part of the base near where munitions were kept and where investigators from the Air Force Safety Center suspect nuclear weapons were maintained and stored.”

U.S. Air Force Investigates Radiological Waste Burial – 2 June 2003


Weapons Storage Areas (WSA) / Buried Radioactive Weapons Maintenance Waste

The Air Force acknowledges that it routinely withheld records from regulators, contractors, and the public about radioactive waste from weapons maintenance.

All activities supporting the nuclear defense program are highly classified to protect national security. Since this included weapons maintenance waste materials during the period involved, information on the amounts and locations of this waste was not found in the historical records searches originally performed as a basis for cleanup. The recent availability of the documents from the Cold War era has led to the discovery of locations where low-level radioactive waste from weapons maintenance activities may have been buried in the [Weapons Storage Areas] WSAs.”

Page 1, column 2
Source: Buried Radioactive Weapons Maintenance Waste – Air Force Real Property Agency (AFRPA) – 8 May 2003


George Air Force Base Federal Facility Agreement

In the Federal Facility Agreement for George Air Force Base, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Air Force gave themselves permission to withhold records pertaining to environmental contamination, from regulators, contractors, and the public.

“23. RELEASE OF RECORDS
23.1 The Parties may request of one another access to or a copy of any record or document relating to this Agreement or the IRP [Installation Restoration Program]. If the Party that is the subject of the request (the originating Party [the Department of Defense and the Air Force]) has the record or document, that Party shall provide access to or a copy of the record or document; provided, however, that no access to or copies of records or documents need be provided if they are subject to claims of attorney-client privilege, attorney work product, deliberative process, enforcement confidentiality, or properly classified for national security under law or executive order.

Source: Page 43
George Air Force Base (George AFB) Federal Facility Agreement – DOD, Air Force – 21 September 1990


Classified for National Security Under Law or Executive Order

The Atomic Energy Act [42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.] and Executive orders concerning the handling of “restricted data” and national security information prohibits the disclosure of information about the nuclear defense program. This includes information about any environmental contamination or accidental exposure to radioactive material from nuclear weapons development, testing, accidents, incidents, or maintenance.

“Restricted Data” (RD)

The Atomic Energy Act defines “Restricted Data” as all data concerning

  1. Design, Manufacture, or Utilization of Atomic Weapons
  2. Production of Special Nuclear Material
  3. Use of Special Nuclear Material in the Production of Energy

“Formerly Restricted Data” (FRD)

Classified information that has been removed from the Restricted Data category after DOE and DoD jointly determine that it

  1. relates primarily to the military utilization of atomic weapons and
  2. can be adequately safeguarded in a manner similar to NSI

Examples of Formerly Restricted Data

  1. Stockpile quantities
  2. Weapons safety & storage
  3. Yields
  4. Locations

Source: Classification of Nuclear Weapons-Related Information …


Parcel K / South Weapons Storage Area (WSA) / Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA)

 

Radioactive Waste Disposal Site at George AFB SEDAThe DoD / Air Force did a Federal-to-Federal transfer for Parcel K. Parcel K contains the former South Weapons Storage Area (WSA) where the Victorville FCC was built, and the Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA). The SEDA contains 11 unpermitted disposal sites that are ¼ of a mile upstream of the supply wells for George AFB, Adelanto, and private homes.

Domestic Water Supply WellsSoutheast Disposal Area (SEDA) unpermitted disposal sites:

  1. SS-52 (SEDA) – “Creosote Spill Area” – Creosote
  2. DP-15 (SEDA) – “Munitions/Oil” – Perchlorates
  3. DP-33 (SEDA) – “Munitions Burial” – Perchlorates
  4. DP-34 (SEDA) – “Munitions Burial” – Perchlorates
  5. WP-40 (SEDA) – “Chemical Toilet Sludge”
  6. LF-07 (SEDA) – “Base Landfill”
  7. LF-08 (SEDA) – “Tetraethyl Lead Disposal” – Avgas, Tetraethyl Lead – Benzene
  8. DP-10 (SEDA) – “Landfill Cartridges”
  9. RW-09 (SEDA) – “Radioactive Disposal” – Radioactive Isotopes
  10. SR-401 (SEDA) – “Small Arms Range” – Lead – Perchlorates
  11. XU-400 (SEDA) – “Old Borrow Area (OB/OD)”

RW009 (SEDA) – “Radioactive Disposal” / The “Off The Books” Environmental Assessment And Cleanup

USGS Quad Victorville Section 36 T6N, R5WThe Air Force claims that the only search and cleanup for radioactive material in the SEDA was conducted in the mid 1990 where a small sealed radioactive source used for calibrating instruments was located.
See: Fact Sheet 10 (RW-09) Radioactive Waste – AF – October 1996

However, John R. Sabol, J.D., P.E., the Base Environmental Coordinator (BEC) for George Air Force Base from June 1976 to February 1981, stated:

“Sometime in 1979, I did drilling work in a remote desert wash south of the large base bomb dump south of Air Base Road. Within the S.W. portion of Section 36 T6N, R5W, there was located a radioactive site clearly marked and fenced. Subsequent drilling with a 91/2 auger showed x-ray film, glass, wood, A-C gauges and other material stored in 55 gal drums.”

John told me that he found 18 to 20 barrels of radioactive material.
Source: Dr. John R. Sabol Letter # 1 – 28 June 1996 – PDF
For more information about John R. Sabol, J.D., P.E., click here.

There is no record in the George Air Force Base Administrative Record of this 1979 environmental assessment for radioactive material that was conducted by Dr. Sabol . Aerial photographs show that extensive work was done prior to the start of the Air Force Installation Restoration Program (IRP).
See: AF Administrative Record
To search the AR for George AFB

    1. Click on the BRAC
    2. Select George AFB from the list
    3. Enter search term and click “Search” button

My radiation exposure in Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA)

This newspaper article discusses my accidental radiation exposure in the SEDA with inhalation and ingestion of the hot particles, which occurred in 1973 while I was stationed at the former George Air Force Base.


Modus Operandi

Has the DoD / Air Force done a Federal-to-Federal land transfer of a contaminated Weapons Storage Area (WSA) and failed to disclose the radioactive contamination at the site? Yes

  • Radioactive waste buried at Biggs Airfield stemming from Air Force maintenance activities involving nuclear weapons from the 1950s and 1960s.
  • The specific quantity of maintenance waste buried is not known due to incomplete records.
  • Bases with first generation nuclear weapon systems used the waste disposal methods that were in accordance with the Atomic Energy Commission and Air Force procedures at the time.
  • The Air Force transferred the bunker to the Army in 1966, but did not warn officials about a potential radiation risk.
  • See: Air Force – Radioactive Waste – News

Has the DoD / Navy done a land transfer and failed to disclose the radioactive contamination at the site? Yes

  • Treasure Island Naval Station was home to US Navy’s Nuclear War Academies
  • The Navy said the radiation is left over from the decontamination of radioactive ships and …
  • The Navy has repeatedly insisted that the island is safe
  • The city of San Francisco didn’t wait for that cleanup to be completed before moving people there: About 2,000 [low income] families have lived in former military housing on the island and nearby Yerba Buena Island since 1999.
  • See: Treasure Island Naval Station – News

Deed Restrictions Water / Land Use

BOP - No Deed - Transfer Document Is Not Public InformationThe Air Force is compelled by law, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) 120(H), to make full disclosure of known and suspected contaminants when the property is transferred, and it is the only time that the Air Force presents the information in a clear, concise, and complete format that the public can easily understand.

Because of these CERCLA disclosure requirements, it is crucial that the public have unfettered access to these Notices, Covenants, and Environmental Restrictions.

“FEDERAL TRANSFER – US BUREAU OF PRISONS – PARCEL K MAP [NO DEED – TRANSFER DOCUMENT IS NOT PUBLIC INFORMATION]

Source: GeoTracker scroll to the bottom of the page


FOIA Request Deed Restrictions Water / Land Use

To check on the status of this BOP FOIA

    1. Go to http://www.bop.gov/foia/
    2. Click on the tab “Track Request”
    3. Enter “2013-11042” in the “Request Number” search box
    4. Click on the “Search” button”

CA State Water Resources Control Board – Regulatory Profile – Potential Contaminants Of Concern

“OPEN – INACTIVE AS OF 4/29/2010 – CLEANUP STATUS HISTORY
POTENTIAL CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN
ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS (ACM), AVIATION, BENZENE, CHLORDANE, DIESEL, EXPLOSIVES (UXO, MEC), GASOLINE, HEATING OIL / FUEL OIL, MTBE / TBA / OTHER FUEL OXYGENATES, MUNITIONS DEBRIS (MD), NITRATE, OTHER INSECTICIDES / PESTICIDE / FUMIGANTS / HERBICIDES, OTHER PETROLEUM, OTHER SOLVENT OR NON-PETROLEUM HYDROCARBON, POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBS), POLYNUCLEAR AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHS), RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES, TETRACHLOROETHYLENE (PCE), TOLUENE, TRICHLOROETHYLENE (TCE), VINYL CHLORIDE, WASTE OIL / MOTOR / HYDRAULIC / LUBRICATING, XYLENE
POTENTIAL MEDIA AFFECTED
AQUIFER USED FOR DRINKING WATER SUPPLY, CONTAMINATED SURFACE / STRUCTURE, INDOOR AIR, SOIL, SOIL VAPOR”

Post Closure Site Management Requirements

“ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED WHICH DISTURB THE REMEDY AND MONITORING SYSTEMS WITHOUT APPROVAL
DAY CARE CENTER PROHIBITED
ELDER CARE CENTER PROHIBITED
HOSPITAL USE PROHIBITED
LAND USE COVENANT
NO GROUNDWATER EXTRACTION AT ANY DEPTH WITHOUT APPROVAL
NOTIFY PRIOR TO CHANGE IN LAND USE
ONLY EXTRACTION OF GROUNDWATER FOR SITE REMEDIATION PERMITTED
PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR PERSONS UNDER 21 PROHIBITED
RAISING OF FOOD PROHIBITED
RESIDENCE USE PROHIBITED”

Source accessed on 5 March 2014: CA State Water Resources Control Board GeoTracker for the former George Air Force Base, CA


References:

  • U.S. Air Force Investigates Radiological Waste Burial – 2 June 2003
    • “For example, the $100 million, maximum security penitentiary in Atwater, Calif., east of San Francisco, occupies the former Castle Air Force Base, once part of the Cold War era Strategic Air Command. The recently built prison is on a part of the base near where munitions were kept and where investigators from the Air Force Safety Center suspect nuclear weapons were maintained and stored.”
  • John R. Sabol, J.D., P.E. did preliminary investigations of the hazardous waste sites where the VictorvilleFCCwas built.
    • I can find no evidence that Dr. Sabol was interviewed by any of the contractors involved in the Air Force Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and none of his environmental reports / investigations are in the George AFB Administrative Record (AR).
  • Dr. John R. Sabol Letter # 1 – 28 June 1996 – PDF
    • “… Sometime in 1979, I did drilling work in a remote desert wash south of the large base bomb dump south of Air Base Road. Within the S.W. portion of Section 36 T6N, R5W, there was located a radioactive site clearly marked and fenced. …”

FOIA Requests / Appeals:

  • FOIA Appeal –Air Force OSI investigation CBRN – George AFB – 4 April 2012
    • This FOIA appeal discusses my 1973 radiation exposure in the SEDA, the 1991 OSI investigation, and provides a map of the location of my exposure. This property is part of the parcel transferred to the BOP for the Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC).
  • As of 22 January 2014 I have not receive the requested records.
    • FOIA Appeal – Air Force Safety Center – Buried Radioactive Weapons Maintenance Waste- George AFB – 28 June 2013
      This FOIA is for information about George AFB’s three Weapons Storage Areas (WSAs) including the WSA where the Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) was built and it includes aerial photographs of the sites.
      As of 22 January 2014 I have not receive the requested records.
  • FOIA Request Air Force HQ – Deed Restrictions Water / Land Use – 15 Feb 2013
    • As of 5 April 2014 I have not receive the requested records.
  • FOIA Request Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Deed Restrictions Land and Water Use – 23 Aug 2013
    • As of 5 April 2014 I have not receive an Acknowledgement Letter or the requested records.

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

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