A sign warns of radioactive material around large piles of dirt contaminated with radium at the former McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif. The Air Force is moving forward with a plan to build a dump on-site, even though state regulations don't allow such waste to be disposed of in California. Photo by Randy Allen/For The Center for Investigative Reporting
SACRAMENTO, CA - Air Force plans to bury contaminated soil in a giant pit on the former McClellan Air Force Base continue on course.
Recent reports by News10 with the Center for Investigative Reporting raised concerns by the City of Sacramento over the eventual transfer of part of the remediation site.
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The Air Force originally planned to move low levels of radium-226 and other contaminants to approved sites in other states.
But the Air Force changed it's plans several years ago, deciding to bury the soil at a site the size of seven football fields on the former base, which could save the Air Force $180 million. However, plans to eventually give a parcel of that land to Sacramento City firefighters for a training facility may have hit a snag.
The California State Health Department said it would be illegal under state law to approve a transfer of the land with the radioactive material buried on site. The City of Sacramento also has concerns, and City Manager John Shirey is worried about the future of the site.
At a meeting of the all civilian Restoration Advisory Board Tuesday night, there was not a single concern raised by either the board or the public on the Air Force plans.
The Air Force point person for the project said the plan exceeds safety standards and will continue to move ahead.
"We've been working extensively with the city fire department and with their risk management group in particular and we've had a very comfortable discussion over several years," McClellan Remedial Program Manager Steve Mayer said.
Mayer said it's important to remember that the Air Force will always have responsibility for the site and it's monitoring. He believes there may have been a misunderstanding with the city over the transfer of the site and said discussions will continue.