U.S. government joins lawsuits against company implicated in botched Hunters Point Shipyard cleanup

The U.S. Navy has reportedly “shown interest” in an offer from Tetra Tech to pay for the retesting of soil at Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Tbe United States government has joined lawsuits against the civil engineering firm at the center of a botched and possibly fraudulent radioactive cleanup at the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Recent audits by the U.S. Navy, which formerly operated a base at the shipyard and is tasked with overseeing remediation efforts at the radiologically contaminated site, as well as by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that as much as 97 percent of data produced by Tetra Tech EC, which has been spearheading the cleanup for nearly a decade, may have been compromised.

Court documents unsealed this week show that the U.S. government, among other things, is accusing Tetra Tech of fraud in the toxic cleanup, as was first reported by NBC Bay Area.

Tetra Tech said in a statement released on Thursday that the company is “disappointed that the Department of Justice has decided to pursue baseless charges against Tetra Tech EC.”

“Tetra Tech EC has worked with the Navy and identified isolated instances of past employee misconduct at Hunters Point, and took corrective measures to prevent the recurrence of any such misconduct,” said the company in a statement. “Tetra Tech EC did not do anything improper.”

Residents of newly constructed homes on a developed parcel of the shipyard, as well as longtime residents from the surrounding community have filed separate lawsuits naming the U.S. Navy contractor — as well as the Navy and the shipyards developer. The lawsuits cite health concerns caused by radioactive contamination at the shipyard as well as an ongoing toxic cleanup riddled by allegations of fraud.

Whistleblower allegations of widespread fraud in the cleanup date back at least six years. In May, two former Tetra Tech supervisors were sentenced to federal prison for falsifying documents and swapping out dirty soil samples for clean ones.

Tetra Tech maintains that the fraud was isolated to a few of the company’s former employees.

“The current claims stem from an isolated incident that occurred during the 2011-2012 timeframe. Tetra Tech EC immediately conducted an extensive investigation and took a number of corrective actions,” the company said in a statement, adding that it “complied with all contractual requirements and that conditions at the site pose no risk to the surrounding community.”

Tetra Tech spokesperson Sam Singer pointed out that former U.S. Navy contractor New world Environmental and other companies are also listed in the complaints.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

 

 

 

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