State Finds Radioactive Waste In Richmond Landfill

RICHMOND (KPIX 5) – Experts with the state have found radioactive waste inside a Richmond landfill near a popular trail. Residents who live nearby told KPIX 5 that the state is not doing enough to fix the problem.

“The Bay Trail is right here in my backyard,” said Sherry Padgett of the Southeast Shoreline Community Advisory Group.

While the trail offers a great view across the bay, neighbors warn that dangerous chemicals are nearby. “I can also see the Blair Landfill,” Padgett said.

The landfill is less than one mile from Padgett’s home in Richmond. State regulators recently confirmed high levels of radiation. The amount of radiation is reportedly 100 times more than what is acceptable.

Neighbors blame a former company that used uranium and dumped it at the landfill.

Padgett told KPIX 5 that she is passionate about holding the state accountable.

“In 2003, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare bone cancer,” she said. Six months after that, Patchett was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She blames the area’s radiation levels for her cancer.

Patchett said she could name two dozen neighbors who had the disease as well. Almost half of them have died.

Many who use the Bay Trail don’t know about the nearby danger. “It seems that if it was a large threat, I would think that the city would post a sign saying that it was not safe to walk,” said Angela Owston, who uses the trail at least three times a week.

The only sign at the Blair Landfill is a “No Trespassing” sign. There is a barbed-wire fence around part of the property, but neighbors said it is still too easy for people to gain access, especially if they don’t know of the potential harm.

Map of Blair Landfill in Richmond. (CBS)

Map of Blair Landfill in Richmond. (CBS)

“No trespassing signs are almost an invitation to hop the fence,” Patchett said.

State regulators said the level of radiation does not require any signs, but they will consider adding them.

Regulators also downplayed the danger to those on the trail, saying a person would have to be near the landfill for 900 hours to be at risk. But officials have said that it is not safe to go on the landfill.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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