Is anyone testing ocean waters in our bay area?

First of all, thank you to the Berkeley team for all their hard work and sharing it with the public.

As a surfer I'm very concerned about radiation levels in the ocean and was curious if any one has found a source that is examining our regional ocean levels.

Thank you!

I tried to get UCSB's marine

I tried to get UCSB's marine biology to monitor the coast and they all but laughed at me. Email the marine and/or ocean science departments of UC Berkeley and see what they say...

Nuclear waste in SF Bay & why maybe no tests in some areas!

You might not see them for certain areas because the results may be 'contaminated.' Here's why and check this out: Before the Farallon Islands in the San Francisco Bay were partitioned off from the public a friend and a retired Navy Captain who regularly checked his fish with a geiger counter caught some fish off the Farallons. Some had deformities and their geiger counter readings were off the charts! Also, sponges that normally grow to a few feet are now found well over 20 feet long. As for 'bottom feeders' such as crab native to the bay and the fact that toxics and heavy metals and nuclear materials congregate on the sea bottom I don't think it would be too smart to eat them or any other seafood unless you like yours with a dash of PU-238,PU-239,Cs-137,Te,AS-70,Sr-90,I-131 and who knows what other 'Hot' materials...

Here's the link with a cut and paste of info. just so you know: photo of bay with map and short video at site.

The Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Dump

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may be surprised to learn that "more than 47,800 drums and other containers of low-level radioactive waste were dumped onto the ocean floor west of San Francisco between 1946 and 1970." (Source: The U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department of the Interior.)

Just 25 to 30 miles offshore from the Golden Gate bridge -- in a marine wildlife sanctuary, no less -- the ocean floor is littered with rusting 55-gallon barrels of radioactive waste. The U.S. Navy shipped this toxic cargo from the Radiological Defense Laboratory at the Hunters Point shipyard in San Francisco and dropped it in the sea near the Farallon Islands -- creating the first and largest offshore nuclear waste dump in the United States. Navy gunners were instructed to shoot holes in the barrels that didn't sink right away.

Nearly 50,000 drums of nuclear waste sounds bad enough, but the ocean floor around the Farallon Islands is host to even more toxic garbage: Namely, the radioactive wreck of a ten-thousand-ton aircraft carrier, used as a nuke target during the 1946 Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests.

Eager to learn what might happen to a warship when an atomic bomb explodes nearby, the U.S. Navy placed the USS Independence within one-half mile of ground zero during the "Able" atomic bomb test of July 1, 1946. This was the first of two atomic bomb tests conducted on the Bikini Atoll as part of Operation Crossroads:

Highly radioactive but still afloat after the blast, the bombed-out hulk was then towed to San Francisco's Hunters Point shipyard for decontamination experiments.

After five years of fruitless sandblasting, the Navy lost interest in the useless wreck. In 1951, the Independence was towed out of the bay and sunk near the Farallon Islands as just another (albeit quite large) chunk of radioactive waste.

The California State Lands Commission shipwreck database pinpoints the exact location of the radioactive shipwreck of the USS Independence as: Latitude 37deg 28'24'N, Longitude 123deg 07'36'W. This interactive map shows the position of those coordinates:

brigham said...
wow, why did they choose the islands? are there other such sites off the coast?

December 21, 2009 10:49 PM
James Stevens said...
In 1979, I happened to be in the library at Scripps Institute of Oceanography involved in a research project. While there, I ran across a report detailing the dumping of 1,200 barrels of nuclear waste at the Farralons. Similarly to your report above, the barrels were incased in concrete. However, the report diverged from the story above in the following respects. This report concerned the dumping of Plutonium waste from the Hanford, Washington site and which was anything but low-level. It expressed grave concerns about the environmental impact of leakages on the Pacific bioshpere with theoretical scenarios over a period of twenty years, the length of time the report predicted would lead to degradation of the concrete containers. The extreme toxicity of the waste as well the quanitity of it would eventually lead to a major ecological collapse, the report concluded. The information contained therein was in explicit detail with charts of radioactivity levels, salt water dispersion rates, directional sub sea current data indicating likely spread patterns and again, concluded that the eventual effect of the toxicity levels would be the interuption of plankton life cycles over a large geographic scale compromising the ongoing integrity of the entire Pacific biosphere. It ended with the commentary that from an engineering perspective, little or nothing could be done to prevent that collapse which, they concluded, was inevitable.

December 21, 2010 4:55 PM
simon752 said...
I'm originally grew up in Fairfax, Marin county, and not only heard but saw the large amount of Breast Cancer victims within the bay area. Could this be the cause?!?

February 7, 2011 8:35 PM
BigWhiteDog said...
I'm sorry but to tie this to any Marin county cancers is one heck of an irresponsible leap. If such clusters were found in Sonoma, San Fran, Alameda and San Mateo Counties then maybe.

If your premise was correct then there should be corresponding clusters in Farallones researchers, fishermen who frequented the area before it was closed off, and persons living right on the coast.

I'm more interested in the fact that a radioactive ship was being sandblasted at Hunters Point for 5 years. What happened to the sand and other waste and what is/was the health status of those workers.

April 8, 2011 9:35 AM

Off my menu: All Seafood! Why? because the oceans have become the prime military and industrial sewer and the last thing I want is to inadvertently ingest enough nuclear material to invite some horrific terminal disease such as leukemia, lymphoma,lung,breast or other cancers known to be more common since 1946...

I'll check in with UCSC

I currently live in Santa Cruz so I'll ask around down here and post if I find anything out.