SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The company accused of fraud in the cleanup of contaminated land at the former Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco is getting hit with a massive lawsuit. Tetra Tech was in charge of clearing contaminated land at the old naval base but neighbors are suing because they don’t believe they the site is truly habitable.
“He passed away, and one of his last words sitting on the sofa was, ‘I don’t want to die in vain, I want them to pay for what has happened to me, for taking me away from my family'” says Danielle Carpenter, one of the lead plaintiffs in the case.
Carpenter says she’s a widow because her husband Chris spent years working in what she calls the toxic environment of the Hunter’s Point Shipyard. He died in 2016 from a very rare cancer related to asbestos.
“Chris would complain that they had not given him a respirator or that they weren’t suited down,” says Carpenter. “We went to Home Depot and bought respirators for Chris to come to work. We had just bought a house and Chris did not want to lose his job.”
Charles Bonner is now representing Carpenter and the others who stand beside her in a $27 billion lawsuit. Some neighbors say they have developed asthma, cancer, and serious illnesses doctors can’t even diagnose because of the contamination near schools and homes of the Bayview-Hunter’s Point community.
Bonner says the environmental threats residents breathe in every day will affect generations to come.
“We will be seeking to stop all development until this community can be guaranteed that it is safe,” says Bonner.
Tetra Tech is named in the lawsuit for providing falsified test results that said the soil tested at the former naval base is safe.
The Navy and EPA have both come out and said that’s not true and they believe the ground may still contain radioactive material despite 12 years of clean up and testing.
Just last week, Tetra Tech’s chief engineer publicly defended his company’s work that cost the federal government a billion dollars.
“We have worked hard to make Hunters Point safe for the community and the residents and for redevelopment,” says William Brownlie, Chief Engineer for Tetra Tech. “It is unfortunate that the false allegations that have been brought against us may result in unnecessary delays in the redevelopment process.”
Tetra Tech says it’s so confident in its results, it will not only pay for more testing to be done, but it will pay for a third party company to come in as well.
Tetra Tech was not immediately available for comment following Tuesday’s press conference.