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radiologic health branch (RHB)


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will be performing a health and safety radiation survey (scan) at Parcel A-1.

The survey work will include the areas of Parcel A-1 that are accessible to the public – those are open areas of uncovered ground, landscaped areas and areas with limited shielding, such as streets and sidewalks.

The U.S. EPA, the Navy and the City and County of San Francisco requested CDPH to perform a radiological survey of Parcel A-1.

The survey work is scheduled to begin on July 16, 2018.

The CDPH will perform gamma radiation scans.  Radiation emits alpha, beta or gamma activity, but only gamma radiation may penetrate the redevelopment materials that are now in place (e.g. landscaping, sidewalks, streets).  Sodium iodide detectors will be used due to their high sensitivity to gamma radiation. 

As part of the redevelopment, considerable excavation and grading of soil, use of some of that soil as fill, and import of clean soil has occurred throughout Parcel A-1.  Other new materials such as sidewalks, streets and landscaping have been added, such that the area available to survey in Parcel A-1 is mostly developed and covered with concrete, asphalt, or landscaping soils brought in subsequently as part of the redevelopment. Scanning is the most effective method for detecting discrete (i.e., not uniformly distributed) radiation sources.  However, if the gamma radiation survey detects radiation above background levels – or radiation that could be a potential concern to public health – additional testing will occur (that may include soil sampling of these areas). (Updated 8-13-18.)
Scanning outdoor surface areas will get results most efficiently about material present at Parcel A-1. This material is likely to be similar to what is also present below residences. In addition, the excavation, grading, subsequent clean fill brought in for the construction of the residential units and installation of building foundation would reduce exposure within residences.

The detection instruments that will be used are state-of-the-art, highly-sensitive calibrated, instruments that are appropriate for performing sensitive gamma ray scans.

The CDPH will notify the Navy, the U.S. EPA, the California State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and the City of San Francisco.   The Navy, U.S. EPA, DTSC, and the City of San Francisco would then determine next steps.

Following the survey, the data will be analyzed and compiled into a report that will be provided to the Navy, DTSC, SFDPH, and the U.S. EPA. This report is expected in Fall 2018.

The CDPH is still completing the cost estimate.   The Navy will provide the funding for the survey work.

The Navy will provide funding for the project.  The City of San Francisco is the lead agency for the property, and is responsible for communications with the residents.  The CDPH will be doing the survey work at Parcel A-1.

CDPH is managing the radiation scanning survey for Parcel A-1.  US EPA and the Navy can provide information on the plan for Parcel G.
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