Te­tra Tech stands by its clean-up work

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - OPINION - By Pre­ston Hop­son Pre­ston Hop­son is se­nior vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel for Te­tra Tech Inc., the par­ent com­pany of Te­tra Tech EC, a provider of con­sult­ing, engi­neer­ing, re­me­di­a­tion and con­struc­tion ser­vices world­wide.

San Francisco and the Bayview-Hunters Point com­mu­nity de­serve to know that Te­tra Tech EC’s work —as­sess­ing and re­me­di­at­ing about 20 per­cent of the Hunters Point Ship­yard — was done prop­erly.

Te­tra Tech stands by the va­lid­ity of our work. We be­lieve all con­cerns can be ad­dressed by our of­fer to pay for in­de­pen­dent test­ing, which will demon­strate our por­tions of the ship­yard were re­me­di­ated to the stan­dards es­tab­lished by the U.S. Navy.

Here are six facts about our work at Hunters Point:

1 Our re­me­di­a­tion was done prop­erly.

2 This is true de­spite two rogue em­ploy­ees, who il­le­gally swapped soil, and a sub­con­trac­tor with New World Tech­nol­ogy, who par­tic­i­pated in the crime in 2012.

3 These il­le­gal ac­tions were de­tected by the Navy in 2012.

4 Once de­tected, Te­tra Tech im­me­di­ately re­viewed 100 per­cent of its work, re-sam­pled and re­me­di­ated ar­eas at our own cost.

5 Te­tra Tech’s re­me­di­a­tion was then ap­proved in an in­de­pen­dent review by the Navy in 2014.

6 The whis­tle-blower claims are false.

Te­tra Tech’s pri­mary work, which was the as­sess­ment and re­me­di­a­tion of low-level ra­di­a­tion, be­gan in 2002. A num­ber of other con­trac­tors worked at Hunters Point and also pro­vided re­me­di­a­tion ser­vices, both ra­di­a­tion and chem­i­cal.

Te­tra Tech was di­rected by the Navy to use New World En­vi­ron­men­tal Inc., do­ing busi­ness as New World Tech­nol­ogy, as the “sin­gu­larly qual­i­fied” firm. Our ra­di­o­log­i­cal work oc­curred un­der the di­rect su­per­vi­sion and con­trol of New World Tech­nol­ogy from 2003 through March 2009 be­cause New World Tech­nol­ogy held the li­cense from the Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion. Te­tra Tech im­ple­mented its own NRC li­cense in 2009.

In 2012, the Navy alerted Te­tra Tech that some soil sam­ples did not appear con­sis­tent to other sam­ples. We de­ter­mined, with Navy over­sight, that 33 ar­eas needed re­sam­pling, and of those re­sam­pled ar­eas, one-third needed ad­di­tional re­me­di­a­tion, which was com­pleted in early 2013.

We is­sued an ini­tial re­port in Novem­ber 2012 and, af­ter a thor­ough Navy review, the fi­nal pub­lic re­port in April 2014. At that time, we could not fig­ure out why there was a breach of pro­to­col in 2012 that caused these soil sam­ples to not be re­flec­tive of the area’s soil makeup.

In 2014 the Navy also com­pleted an in­de­pen­dent review of our work and found that “The Navy’s con­trac­tor cor­rected iden­ti­fied de­fi­cient con­di­tions and in­cor­po­rated ad­di­tional QC (qual­ity con­trol) steps to avoid re­cur­rence.” The re­port was pre­sented to the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, the state Depart­ment of Toxic Sub­stances Con­trol, and the state Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health. De­spite in­ves­ti­ga­tions by us, the Navy and the Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion, we didn’t know what went wrong.

Now, we know Stephen Rolfe and Justin Hub­bard, and New World Tech­nol­ogy em­ployee An­thony Smith, were part of a ca­bal that fal­si­fied data.

Smith said in court he fal­si­fied data and swapped soil sam­ples — un­eth­i­cal and il­le­gal ac­tions — at the ship­yard, where he worked as a ra­di­a­tion con­trol tech­ni­cian with Rolfe and Hub­bard. We don’t un­der­stand why he wasn’t charged by the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment.

We are fully sup­port­ive of the ac­tions taken by the Jus­tice Depart­ment against Rolfe and Hub­bard for fal­si­fy­ing re­ports. We ve­he­mently re­ject their ac­tiv­i­ties and have zero tol­er­ance for vi­o­la­tions of es­tab­lished pro­to­cols and pro­ce­dures.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment also in­ter­viewed Te­tra Tech EC’s most se­nior man­agers over­see­ing these men and no charges were brought against them, as they had no role and no knowl­edge of the wrong­do­ing.

All the al­le­ga­tions be­ing made to­day orig­i­nate from the 2012 soil sam­ple anom­alies. In 2014, Smith la­beled him­self a whis­tle-blower and be­gan mak­ing the false al­le­ga­tions that are are be­ing pro­moted and caus­ing con­cern to­day.

It should be noted that Smith is rep­re­sented by at­tor­ney David An­ton, who has been twice sus­pended by the Cal­i­for­nia State Bar for fab­ri­cat­ing ev­i­dence and con­flict of in­ter­est. We think these facts should make the pub­lic look care­fully at the claims these men are mak­ing, which are only in­tended to scare the com­mu­nity and en­rich them­selves through re­sult­ing law­suits.

Lastly, Te­tra Tech is a Cal­i­for­nia firm, based in Pasadena. It has 17,000 em­ploy­ees, many in the San Francisco area. Af­ter more than 50 years in busi­ness, we pro­vide engi­neer­ing and tech­ni­cal ser­vices, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal re­me­di­a­tion, on more than 60,000 projects world­wide each year. We would never con­done the wrong­do­ing that was done by these three in­di­vid­u­als.

We know the work we did at Hunters Point Ship­yard is right — and we know that an in­de­pen­dent review that we have of­fered to pay for will set the record straight. We en­cour­age the Navy to ac­cept our of­fer and be­gin work im­me­di­ately.

Pho­tos by Lea Suzuki / The Chron­i­cle

Pre­ston Hop­son of Te­tra Tech speaks to the me­dia af­ter a hear­ing at City Hall Mon­day.

A per­son in the gallery of the San Francisco Board of Su­per­vi­sors gives a thumbs down dur­ing a hear­ing about the clean-up at the Hunters Point Ship­yard Mon­day in City Hall.

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