Glenn Greenwald: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).”

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack,” while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience” and “compliance”:

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?

As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

Documents referenced in this article:

Mic Drop

There’s no stopping me at this point.  I’m a runaway freight train of information about The Superfund Project.  And so what do you do when you’re standing on the tracks staring down a locomotive barelling towards you with enough power to feel the rumbles in the tracks long before I get there?

Do you try to fight the train? You can try that.

Or, do you get the fuck off the tracks?  Live or die, right?  But sometimes there’s that one mother fucker who wants to stand on the tracks until the front of the train is ten feet away, about to smash him into a million pieces.  The dude is crazy but he still got the hell out of the way.

Well, I know we just met and all but I’m the train, and so I’m at full steam — steamed quad mochas — and so… I’m  going off the………rails…. on… a……  crazy…… I’m not doing it. I’m not quoting Ozzy lyrics.

I mean, dudes wicked, but I’ve got my own metaphor going here, about my progress likened to a train.

I guess if I’m getting fucked by so many people right now, then it’s also another type of train, the kind you can get on Craigslist, but that’s not the point.

But, fuck em though.  These dumb fucks all dragged themselves into this.  Not really problem to me if people fry for what’s been done to my life.  And you see, I don’t give a fuck if I fry either.  Do you get it?

 

I don’t giva….. high pitched FUUCK!!!

All I care about is getting everything I know about the superfund project, out into public.  If I fucking get taken out in a raging ball of flames then fuck it, hell yeah, give me everything you’ve got, or, shut the fuck up, you know I’m fucking down for whatever raging rodeo comes along, just make sure you completely erradicate me, or you’re fucking talking liquid terminator type stuff, with me.

I’ve

often said I can only be killed by lava, so if you’re  ready rumble you better bring a fucking volcano, or go home, and I’m not talking about that baking soda and vinegar type that you made for the eleventh grade science fair, but that real deal Holyfield, St. Helens type, you know that polluted all its tributary rivers with ash and turned the water white, like the Toutle River, type shit.

And so, it’s been said millions of times throughout history: paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, volcano beats train.

And I’m talking a real Volcano, here, because that’s the way you’re gonna get lava.  You could also draw me into a foundry and push me into a cauldron of molten steel.  I think that, too, would be reasonable way to end my story.  It’s in my top three ways I’d prefer to die.

Of course, volcano/foundry lava.

Getting stabbed to death with a thumb tack, right?

Or, being killed by something completely harmless, like getting slowly crushed to death by cotton balls, one at a time.  Using fucking science I know that there is a certain fucking number of fucking cotton balls to where you can add one fucking more and it’s enough to fucking crush a human fucking spine.

But if you’re not one of those three things, then you’re fucked, and so shit…. I’m all like chuga chuga chuga motha fugga WOO WOO!! BOOM you’re flattened like wheat penny, and then later worn as a terrible terrible necklace by old ladies and assholes.

*Mic Drop* THUMP

-Matt

 

 

 

Finally My Studio Is Back Together

It’s taken awhile, but I finally got my studio back together after the move.  This time, I set it up so it has a filming background, so I can shoot all the narratives for my coming film release and have a nice looking back drop.

image

As you might be able to see — or not! — I went with three monitors. I also built this custom desk using IKEA parts and a circular saw.  The printer and UPS are new, also.

It’s a nice setup.  I can run Premiere, Photoshop, and Sonar, at the same time.  Not shown is the fourth monitor, which echoes the Sonar screen, and is located in my also new drum room.

Life just gets better and better in spite of all of the negativity, which is what true Karma is really all about!

-Matt

 

 

The Lies Are Piling Up

When you’re being harassed by losers on the internet, no boundaries exist for the level of stupid that they’ll exhibit.  I’ll provide a few examples:

1. The repeated encouragement for people to report me to SSI:

removal9

Ok, that’s great and all but… I don’t collect SSI.  Even when I was disabled I got SSD, which is not dependent on income.  These repeated fraud reports are the labor of morons and idiots who will waste government official’s time, because you can’t defraud a program you are not enrolled in and never have been.

2. Photoshops and fake e-mails to Web.com:

removal8

This one is also funny to me.  What this looks like is a message from an e-mail address — one that is not mine — to Web.com (Network Solutions) about my website being shut down.  It’s funny because even though I host my own website, the last host I used was GoDaddy, and I’ve not used Network Solutions for over a year.  You see, they have bad information about me, because they’re poor researchers, so it’s easy to catch them in lies.

3. I don’t support my children:

removal10

I just paid off my entire child support obligation for my son, who is twenty years old.  This means that I paid for eighteen years of his life and satisfied that obligation.  My daughter’s mother refused to accept money from me, and has been doing so for over two years.  So the allegations that I am a dead beat are also false.

Do you get it yet?  They’re stalking me, threatening my life, and lying, all at the same time.

Want The Truth About My Google Results?

It’s pretty obvious someone with a sick, sick, mind is fixated on me, in the most unhealthy manner, so I thought I would provide this handy guide to show you how to process the negative information posted about me.

Here is what is printed:

linkedin7

Obviously, this site is still here and has not been “shut down” and never would be because I host this site on my own private server.  So not only did someone actually Photoshop this entire image — seriously? — but let me show you the real truth.

It’s actually them that has had three blogs shut down in the last month for threatening to “slit my throat” and these death threats were independently confirmed by WordPress, as you can see from the following response from WordPress’ Abuse Team:

peter-response2

As I type this there are dozens of fake Twitter accounts, dozens of fake Facebook accounts, dozens of fake Reddit accounts, dozens of fake LinkedIn accounts, all created to fill the internet with lies and cause people to attack and harass me, all created by the same guy, and considering the above information, one should start to understand how screwed up it is that I have to live with these lies in my life, as no one takes the time to confirm anything they read.

ross102

People with no education, who are easily manipulated see the negativity, go on the offensive, attack me, and because of this, I get bullied on the internet every day of my life, over and over again, non-stop, over words on a blog that are literally stating the opposite of what is actually happening.  That’s their scam, they accuse me of doing to them what they are actually doing to me.

removal2

Another example are the Fractal Audio posts, of me being attacked on my fan page by 108 people at the same time, an internet mob who came after me for writing an article about how Fractal Audio is bullying negative reviewers, using their forums, and proved exactly what I’d written was true.  As a result, Fractal Audio, essentially, stole over $2,500, left me with an unusable product, and then the very people who attacked me took screenshots and posted them on blogs to make them look like victims, which is what all of these people are doing.

Let’s forget that they’ve created multiple stories about the fake deletion of this website.

dox2

The group that is filling my search results with lies is lying to people, manipulating them, causing massive internet mobbing incident, and then sharing tiny bits of the actual story, and the result is that every cyber predator on the internet, the type of people who enjoy abusing other people for fun, target me, wreck my name an reputation, and cause damage to very important environmental causes, in the process.

 

Considering the independently confirmed death threats, and the post below this one with a message from the person doing it, it becomes crystal clear that I am nothing more than a stalking victim who cannot get justice because this person has hidden their identity and their are no laws in place which allow me to catch them.  The police can’t do anything, the courts can’t do anything, the FBI refuses to act, and in the end, I am left living in a world of lies and madness, desperately trying to save my name and reputation from this internet predator who seriously need mental health help, stat!

-Matt

UPDATE:

When they were busted lying, they switched gears and now they say that a Redditor got this site shut down, even though… it’s still here and never went down.  They even created a fake e-mail address and e-mails, like the crazy psychopaths they are.  The failure of the internet knows no bounds.  

A Note From The Psychopath That Is Filling My Search Results With Lies – Peter John Ross

This is an unedited note from the deeply deranged, mentally ill, nut job that is filling my internet search results with lies and damaging my environmental work:

I want Matthew Berdyck to continue living his life exactly as he is right now. The horrid life he lives inside his mind, the only escape to be these unrealistic, unattainable goals, and failing to achieve them every single day. Lying the next day that he achieved those goals, knowing how hollow the falsehood rings even in his own arrogant yet empty head.

What a fitting punishment. To never know the love of either of his children. To always be moving around, paranoid and looking over his shoulder for those who don’t even exist, perpetually chasing him for the good deeds that never seem to materialize in the real world.

The allure of the internet, the notion that he can reinvent himself as someone new, only to have it too fail every single day. He may get a glimpse for a fleeting moment of someone buying his bullshit lies, but that always seems to fall apart and alone again he will always be.

SuperfundResearch, researching, an album or a feature film or whatever he does, nothing will ever come from these follies. And the answer as to why will elude him forever, much like success and happiness will elude him for the rest of his days on earth.

I go to sleep smiling every night, holding on to my boyfriend’s arm, and a small part of me feels satisfaction in knowing the real truth, that Matthew Berdyck will never have this, never have a meaningful relationship with another human being. It is a blessing for humanity that he is incapable of empathy and love because those who tried to give him love or sympathy barely lived to regret it.

20-30 more years of pain, loneliness, and torment. That would be a wonderful and happy end to the story of Matthew Berdyck.

In the end, Matt will have missed his children’s lives, their children’s lives, and all for what will amount to a footnote in history as an annoying internet pest, buried in a pile of data that no one will notice or care about. Matthew Berdyck will equal in death what he did in life.

Absolutely nothing.

 

What Does The UMTRA Uranium Clean Up In Moab, Utah Have To Do With The Residents Of Los Angeles

There is a massive pile of Uranium tailings, the byproduct of Uranium enrichment, sitting in Moab, Utah that sits right next to The Colorado River and is leaking Uranium into the river which is the drinking water source for a large portion of Southern California.

moab1

The Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) is a project, administered by the Department of Energy, to move the pile out into the middle of the high desert and bury it somewhere that the Uranium cannot spill into the drinking water supply.

moab7

The Department of Energy states that the project is 51% complete.  Tailing shipments began in April, 2009, and are expected to continue through about 2032.

moab5

Because of the location of the pile there is concern that a flash flood will strike and wash even more Uranium into the river, which will make it’s way to Lake Mead, and eventually directly a major Southern California drinking water supply.   What does a flash flood look like in Moab, Utah?

I’m doing all kinds of research on this subject right now, reaching out to different officials and agencies, working to understand the real risks of this pile, and soon I’ll have a short film prepared for the people of Los Angeles, filled with information and links so they can research the issue themselves, and so that we can all work together to make sure So Cal is both aware of the issue and prepared in the event of a disaster.

-Matt

Poison in the Grapes – Castle Homes – Akron, Ohio – Superfund Information

Summit Equipment & Supplies, Inc.

Site Information
  • Akron, OH (Summit County)
  • EPA ID# OHD055523401
Repository

(where to view written records)

Akron-Summit County Public Library
Science & Technology Dept.
60 S. High St.
Akron, Ohio

Background

The 7.5-acre former salvage yard and scrap metal facility, located at 875 Ivor Ave., Akron, is bordered by the Akron-Barberton Beltway Railroad tracks to the north; a low-lying woodland and marsh to the east; a residential area to the south; and a light industrial area to the west. The marsh to the east of the salvage yard is immediately adjacent to Lake Nesmith, a local recreation area.

Operating from the 1950s to the 1980s, Summit Equipment accepted large numbers of transformers containing PCB oils. It also stored transformers and batteries intended for scrap and reclamation.  In the early 1970s, batteries were recycled while metals from electrical equipment were smelted on-site in a small furnace.  Oil reclaimed from the transformers reportedly provided fuel for the furnace.  These activities resulted in on-site PCB contamination of soil and off-site movement of the PCBs. These site operations also resulted in ground water contamination under the site.

In 1987, EPA conducted an emergency action to stop the PCBs from moving off-site.  About 300 capacitors and 1,300 transformer carcasses were also removed to stabilize the site and protect neighbors’ health as well as the environment.

In 1991, EPA also oversaw removal and disposal of:

  • 2,000 tons of contaminated scrap, motors, and stone
  • over 160 drums containing various items including furnace residue, metal grinding dust, and PCB- and mercury-contaminated soil
  • non-hazardous waste oil, paint residue, and batteries
  • over 432 cubic yards of tires
  • 219 tons of building demolition debris
  • two large transformer carcasses weighing 2,500 pounds
  • three mercury rectifiers and eight compressed air cylinders

In 1998, the EPA finalized a long-term cleanup plan, called the record of decision, which included:

  • clearing unexploded ordnance
  • excavating all contaminated soil
  • backfilling and regrading the excavated areas with clean fill
  • transporting contaminated soil to a permitted landfill for disposal
  • monitoring the ground water
  • restricting future land and ground water use

All of these actions were completed by 2000 along with continued ground water monitoring.  The 1998 cleanup plan was slightly modified in 2004 to remove unnecessary land-use restrictions.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Technical Documents || Five-Year Reviews || Legal Agreements


You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s PDF page to learn more.

Site Updates

August 2014

In 2013, EPA completed a status review of the site’s cleanup. This type of review is required at least every five years where the cleanup is complete but hazardous substances remain at levels too high to allow unrestricted use of the site. These reviews are done to ensure that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.

The review included:

  • An evaluation of background information.
  • Cleanup requirements.
  • Effectiveness of the cleanup and any anticipated future actions.
  • An analysis of ways for EPA to operate more efficiently.
  • Maintenance and monitoring efforts.

The review found the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment. The area remains fenced to discourage trespassing, although a fence is not required to prevent exposure to hazardous substances. Also, a natural treatment process, called monitored natural attenuation, continues to cleanse the groundwater of hazardous substances before they can move off-site.

Report trespassers to local police; direct health concerns to the Summit County Health Department Exit EPA Disclaimer

The next review will be in 2018. The third five-year review (PDF) (30pp, 831KB) details the site’s progress.

Technical Documents

Top of page

Five-Year Reviews

Top of page

Legal Agreements

Missing information… information:

Previously, all data for this site was publicly available.  Recently with the changed in the EPA website Superfund access to necessary records has been systematically blocked.  In the case of missing PDF’s, when one clicks on the links they are now greeted with this page.

national priorites list

Please read my external autobiographical articles on LinkedIn for more information:

1. Why I’ll Never Have Mainstream Success

2. Media Corruption: How Can You Tell When WEWS ABC News Is Lying About A Superfund Site?


San Fernando Valley Superfund Information

Note: In San Fernando Valley there is a TCE vapor intrusion issue.  Yet, in the EPA documentation there is no mention on vapor intrusion, which is the biggest concern with TCE.  The following infographic was created for the MEW study – a study of vapor intrusion in Mountain View under Google’s Quad Annex building and depicts the same phenomenon  that is happening in San Fernando Valley.  Since 2011, one article has been published in Los Angeles on the subject matter.  LA Times, LA Weekly, KTLA, have refused to report.  Variety has also refused to publish paid advertising for myself and my causes.

Google Quad674

San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites are located in the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley (see the map), between the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. The San Fernando Valley is an important source of drinking water for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the cities of Glendale, Burbank, and San Fernando, La Canada- Flintridge, and the unincorporated area of La Crescenta. There are four separate areas comprising the San Fernando Superfund Sites: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs,(3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.
The information on this page applies to the San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites overall. For information specific to the four individual areas, click on the links above and visit the web pages for the separate areas.

History: In 1980, after finding organic chemical contamination in the groundwater of the San Gabriel Valley, the California Department of Health Services (DHS) requested all major groundwater users to conduct tests for the presence of certain industrial chemicals in the water they were serving. The results of testing revealed volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in the groundwater beneath large areas of the San Fernando Valley. The primary contaminants of concern were the solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), widely used in variety of industries including metal plating, machinery degreasing, and dry cleaning.

TCE and PCE have been detected in a large number of production wells at levels that are above the Federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), which is 5 parts per billion (ppb) for each of these VOCs. The state of California MCL is also 5 ppb for TCE and PCE. MCLs are drinking water standards. Other VOC contaminants in the San Fernando Valley have also been detected above the Federal and/or State MCLs. As a result of the groundwater contamination, many production wells have been taken out of service. The water agencies of the San Fernando Valley closely monitor the quality of drinking water delivered to residents. The water meets all federal and state requirements and is safe to drink. Due to groundwater contamination, much of the drinking water delivered to residents is purchased from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California.

Nitrate, an inorganic contaminant, has also been detected in the groundwater in the San Fernando Valley, consistently at levels in excess of the MCL of 45 parts per million (ppm). Nitrate contamination may be the result of past agricultural practices and/or septic system or ammonia releases.

State and local agencies acted to provide alternative water supplies and to investigate and clean up potential sources. EPA and other agencies became involved in coordinating efforts to address the large-scale groundwater contamination. In 1984, EPA proposed four sites for inclusion on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL): Area 1 – Burbank & North Hollywood, Area 2 – Glendale/Crystal Springs, Area 3 – Verdugo and Area 4 – Pollock/Los Angeles. The original boundaries of the sites were based on drinking water wellfields that were known to be contaminated by VOCs in 1984. In 1986, the four sites were included on the NPL. EPA manages the four sites and adjacent areas where contamination has (or may have) migrated as one large site. EPA has pursued a more comprehensive approach for the investigation and cleanup of the contamination.

In 1987, EPA and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) signed a Cooperative Agreement providing federal funds to perform a remedial investigation (RI) of groundwater contamination in the San Fernando Valley.

EPA is currently focusing its efforts on four operable units (OUs) within two of the four San Fernando Valley Superfund sites to accelerate the investigation and cleanup of the study area. Each OU represents a discrete, interim contaminant remedy currently in progress throughout the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley. EPA has signed Records of Decision (RODs) for four OUs in the San Fernando Valley: North Hollywood OU (1987 and 2009) and Burbank OU (1989) within the Area 1 site, and Glendale North and South OUs (1993) within the Area 2 site. The North Hollywood OU Interim Remedy began operating in 1989, and the Burbank OU has been operational since 1996. The Glendale North and South OUs began partial operation in August 2000 and achieved full operation capacity in June 2002. While conducting the OU remedies, EPA has also conducted basinwide investigations which ultimately may lead to a basinwide final ROD.

Since completion of the remedial investigation for the San Fernando Valley in 1992, EPA has continued to monitor groundwater contamination through its Basinwide Monitoring Program. The monitoring Program consists of quarterly sampling of over 500 groundwater wells located throughout the eastern portion of the valley. Data generated from these sampling events are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and Nitrate contamination in groundwater.

For More Information about the history of the separate areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund site, click on the following links: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.

Site Map: Shows the location of all the individual areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund sites. click here

Photographs: These photographs depict groundwater sampling activities that occurred during a 1998 sampling event. click here

More photographs: There are also photographs available depicting activities specific to the following San Fernando Valley Superfund sites: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood (Burbank treatment plant or North Hollywood treatment plant, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo.

Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater

This area contains information regarding the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin as a whole. Information regarding threats and contaminants specific to the four separate areas that comprise the San Fernando Valley Superfund site can be obtained from the web pages for those separate areas: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.

Plume Maps of TCE, PCE, and Chromium
The water quality data collected through the EPA’s Water Quality Monitoring Program for over 500 wells are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and chromium contamination in groundwater. Click here to go to the plume maps webpage.

Groundwater Quality Monitoring Reports
Since completion of the remedial investigation for the San Fernando Valley in 1992, EPA has continued to monitor groundwater contamination through its Basinwide Monitoring Program. The monitoring program consists of quarterly sampling of over 500 groundwater wells located throughout the eastern portion of the valley.

Data generated from these sampling events are used to map the extent of TCE, PCE, and Nitrate contamination in groundwater. Groundwater Quality Monitoring reports are generated periodically depending on the sampling events to present the groundwater quality results.

The report sections and tables are available in .PDF format to view and print. The figures presented in the reports are available in .JPG and .PDF file formats.

> 2007 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2006 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2005 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2004 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2003 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2002 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2001 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 2000 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1999 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1998 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1997 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1996 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
> 1995 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report

Who is Involved

[See web pages for separate areas within the San Fernando Valley Superfund Site: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.]

Investigation and Cleanup Activities

The San Fernando Valley Basinwide Operable Unit (OU) activities consist of Basinwide Field investigations, data management and groundwater modelling. The San Fernando Valley Basinwide OU supports the other San Fernando Valley OUs in all phases of the Superfund process.

[For more information on the other OUs, see: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.]

Cleanup Results to Date

[See web pages for separate areas within the San Fernando Valley Superfund Site: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.]

Potentially Responsible Parties

Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.

No Further Action (“NFA”) Letter recipients
Under a cooperative agreement between EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region (“LA-RWQCB”) conducted assessments of facilities in the San Fernando Basin to determine the extent of solvent usage and to assess past and current chemical handling, storage and disposal practices. These investigations were conducted pursuant to the LA-RWQCB’s Well Investigation Program. Many of these investigations are currently in progress. For parties whose facilities the LA-RWQCB later determined that additional investigation was not required, the LA-RWQCB sent “no further action” (NFA) letters.

Additionally, EPA and the LA-RWQCB sent joint NFA letters to parties in cases where both EPA and the LA-RWQCB determined that additional investigation was not required.

Based on information provided to EPA by the RWQCB or otherwise known to EPA and the RWQCB when the joint NFA letters were issued, the entities who received the joint NFA letters were not asked by EPA or the RWQCB to participate in regional ground-water cleanup projects for the San Fernando Basin Superfund Sites. However, EPA may re-open a site investigation or request participation in regional ground-water cleanup projects, if new information becomes available or site conditions change. Click here for the list of LA-RWQCB No Further Action letter recipients and joint EPA/LA-RWQCB No Further Action letter recipients. Parties who received a joint NFA letter are noted with a “Y” in the “Joint Letter” column on the NFA Letter list.

General Notice Letter (“GNL”) and Special Notice Letter (“SNL”) Recipients
A GNL notifies an entity that EPA has identified the entity as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) for the purpose of Superfund response actions. Besides designating a facility or person as a PRP, the GNL is used to encourage PRP coalescence and formation of steering committees, an important step prior to negotiations with EPA for Superfund response work, both investigatory and remedial.

An SNL, in addition to designating an entity as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”), initiates a formal settlement process between EPA and the PRPs. The SNL is used to facilitate an agreement between EPA and the PRPs for the PRPs to conduct site work and to pay EPA’s oversight and other response costs. The SNL requests an offer from PRPs to perform these actions and sets a formal time period for negotiations to be completed, after which EPA may unilaterally order the PRPs to undertake the site work and to pay EPA’s oversight costs, and initiate a lawsuit to recover EPA’s other response costs.

EPA sent general notice and special notice letters to parties EPA considered potential contributors to the volatile organic compound (VOC) groundwater contamination in the Area 1 – North Hollywood, and Area 2 – Glendale/Crystal Springs San Fernando Valley NPL sites. Click here for the list of General Notice and Special Notice letter recipients.

EPA may from time-to-time identify additional potentially responsible parties based on new information, or changes in site conditions.

Documents and Reports

Hide details for Community Involvement Community Involvement
08/01/93 Final Revised Community Relations Plan
03/10/08 San Fernando Valley Chromium Worshop Poster Session
Hide details for Fact Sheets Fact Sheets
03/01/88 EPA and DWP Begin Investigating Groundwater Contamination in the San Fernando Valley
07/01/90 Groundwater Cleanup Studies Continue in the San Fernando Valley Basin
05/01/93 EPA Announces Results of Basinwide Groundwater Remedial Investigation
08/01/93 Status Update Fact Sheet
04/01/97 EPA Reduces San Fernando Valley Cleanup Costs by $49 Million
09/01/97 U.S. EPA Efforts Minimize Impacts on the Valley’s Economy
10/01/98 Superfund Law and Real Estate Transactions
11/01/99 EPA Announces Well Sampling Event
06/01/03 Site Update Revised Site Update (Web Version)
07/09/09 North Hollywood Operable Unit Proposed Plan for Enhanced Groundwater Remedy
12/10/09 San Fernando Valley Superfund Sites Update, and EPA Selects Second Interim Remedy for the North Hollywood Operable Unit
07/05/11 EPA Seeks Your Input – Participate in Community Interviews
05/07/12 EPA to Install Ground Water Monitoring Wells in the Glendale/Burbank Area La EPA instalará pozos de monitoreo en el área de Glendale/Burbank
05/01/13 North Hollywood OU Proposed Plan to Amend Record of Decision, San Fernando Valley Area 1, May 2013
Hide details for Images Images
05/28/98 BURBANK TREATMENT PLANT
FIRST QUARTER OF 1998 SAMPLING EVENT
Hide details for Legal Documents Legal Documents
General Notice Letter – Special Notice Letter Recipients
No-Further Action Letter Recipients
Hide details for Maps Maps
10/01/08 San Fernando Valley Contamination map
10/01/09 San Fernando Valley Contamination map
01/01/10 San Fernando Valley Groundwater Contamination maps for 2010 (PCE, TCE, Chromium, Nitrate)
11/28/11 San Fernando Valley All Areas – Contamination Concentration
12/21/11 Figure X – 1,2,3-TCP Concentrations in the Shallow Zone
12/21/11 Figure X – 1,4-Dioxane Concentrations in the Shallow Zone
12/21/11 Figure X – Perchlorate Cocentrations in the Shallow Zone
01) 1998, Annual, TCE, Shallow (433K)
02) 1998, Annual, TCE, Deep (412K)
03) 1998, Annual, PCE, Shallow (431K)
04) 1998, Annual, PCE, Deep (411K)
05) 1998, Annual, NO3, Shallow (400K)
06) 1998, Annual, NO3, Deep (394K)
07) 1997, Annual, TCE, Shallow (288K)
08) 1997, Annual, TCE, Deep (269K)
09) 1997, Annual, PCE, Shallow (282K)
10) 1997, Annual, PCE, Deep (267K)
11) 1997, Annual, NO3, Shallow (269K)
12) 1997, Annual, NO3, Deep (247K)
13) 1996, Annual, TCE, Shallow (282K)
14) 1996, Annual, TCE, Deep (263K)
15) 1996, Annual, PCE, Shallow (278K)
16) 1996, Annual, PCE, Deep (262K)
17) 1996, Annual, NO3, Shallow (295K)
18) 1996, Annual, NO3, Deep (242K)
19) 1995, Spring, TCE, Shallow (282K)
20) 1995, Spring, TCE, Deep (265K)
21) 1995, Spring, PCE, Shallow (278K)
22) 1995, Spring, PCE, Deep (263K)
23) 1995, Spring, NO3, Shallow (304K)
24) 1995, Spring, NO3, Deep (244K)
25) 1995, Fall, TCE, Shallow (282K)
26) 1995, Fall, TCE, Deep (264K)
27) 1995, Fall, PCE, Shallow (279K)
28) 1995, Fall, PCE, Deep (263K)
29) 1995, Fall, NO3, Shallow (261K)
30) 1995, Fall, NO3, Deep (242K)
31) 1994, Spring, TCE, Shallow (282K)
32) 1994, Spring, TCE, Deep (262K)
33) 1994, Spring, PCE, Shallow (278K)
34) 1994, Spring, PCE, Deep (261K)
35) 1994, Spring, NO3, Shallow (304K)
36) 1994, Spring, NO3, Deep (242K)
37) 1994, Fall, TCE, Shallow (281K)
38) 1994, Fall, TCE, Deep (264K)
39) 1994, Fall, PCE, Shallow (278K)
40) 1994, Fall, PCE, Deep (264K)
41) 1994, Fall, NO3, Shallow (264K)
42) 1994, Fall, NO3, Deep (245K)
43) 1993, Spring, TCE, Shallow (287K)
44) 1993, Spring, TCE, Deep (262K)
45) 1993, Spring, PCE, Shallow (282K)
46) 1993, Spring, PCE, Deep (261K)
47) 1993, Spring, NO3, Shallow (271K)
48) 1993, Spring, NO3, Deep (241K)
49) 1993, Fall, TCE, Shallow (280K)
50) 1993, Fall, TCE, Deep (264K)
51) 1993, Fall, PCE, Shallow (280K)
52) 1993, Fall, PCE, Deep (262K)
53) 1993, Fall, NO3, Shallow (269K)
54) 1993, Fall, NO3, Deep (244K)
55) 1992, Spring, TCE, Shallow (283K)
56) 1992, Spring, TCE, Deep (261K)
57) 1992, Spring, PCE, Shallow (278K)
58) 1992, Spring, PCE, Deep (259K)
59) 1992, Spring, NO3, Shallow (265K)
60) 1992, Spring, NO3, Deep (242K)
61) 1992, Fall, TCE, Shallow (286K)
62) 1992, Fall, TCE, Deep (263K)
63) 1992, Fall, PCE, Shallow (284K)
64) 1992, Fall, PCE, Deep (262K)
65) 1992, Fall, NO3, Shallow (272K)
66) 1992, Fall, NO3, Deep (245K)
67) 1991, Annual, TCE (238K)
68) 1991, Annual, PCE (238K)
69) 1990, Annual, TCE (239K)
70) 1990, Annual, PCE (239K)
An index to all the plume maps for the San Fernando Valley Superfund site
[Model Calibration] – Calibration Wells (89K)
[Model Calibration] – Difference Between Simulated and Estimated Groundwater Contours, Autumn 1988 (100K)
[Model Calibration] – Model Layer 1 Cells that Become Dry During WY 1982-1992 Simulation (109K)
[Model Calibration] – Simulated versus Estimated Groundwater Contours, Autumn 1988 (110K)
[Model Configuration] – Bottom of Model Layer 1- Elevation (113K)
[Model Configuration] – Bottom of Model Layer 2 – Elevation (109K)
[Model Configuration] – Bottom of Model Layer 3 – Elevation (105K)
[Model Configuration] – Bottom of Model Layer 4 – Elevation (107K)
[Model Configuration] – Extent of Model Layers (101K)
[Model Configuration] – Location of Available and Constructed Cross Sections (85K)
[Model Configuration] – San Fernando Basin Groundwater Flow Model (115K)
[Model Configuration] – Thickness of Model Layer 1 (114K)
[Model Configuration] – Thickness of Model Layer 2 (105K)
[Model Configuration] – Thickness of Model Layer 3 (103K)
[Model Configuration] – Thickness of Model Layer 4 (104K)
[Model Parameters] – Hydraulic Conductivity Zone, Model Layer 1 (134K)
[Model Parameters] – Hydraulic Conductivity Zone, Model Layer 2 (126K)
[Model Parameters] – Hydraulic Conductivity Zone, Model Layer 3 (119K)
[Model Parameters] – Hydraulic Conductivity Zone, Model Layer 4 (115K)
[Model Parameters] – River Bed Conductance Zones (112K)
[Model Parameters] – Specific Yield Zones Model Layer 1 (130K)
[Model Parameters] – Total Transmissivity of Model Layers 1, 2, 3 (116K)
[Model Parameters] – Zoned Ratio of Horizontal to Vertical Hydraulic Conductivity Along Boundary Between Model Layers 1 and 2 (108K)
[Model Stresses] – Delivered Water Recharge Zone (129K)
[Model Stresses] – Hill and Mountain Front Recharge Zones (105K)
Hide details for Technical Documents Technical Documents
08/01/96 1995 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
06/01/97 1996 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
06/01/98 1997 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
02/01/99 1998 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
02/01/99 1999 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
03/01/00 2000 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
03/01/01 2001 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
08/01/03 2002 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
01/30/04 San Fernando Valley Modeling Results
07/01/04 2003 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
07/01/05 2004 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
01/01/07 2005 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
12/01/07 2006 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
03/10/08 San Fernando Valley Chromium Workshop Material
07/01/09 2007 Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report
Community Involvement

Public Meetings: [See web pages for separate areas within the San Fernando Valley Superfund Site: (1) Burbank & North Hollywood, (2) Glendale/Crystal Springs, (3) Verdugo, and (4) Pollock/Los Angeles.]

Please note that the March 10, 2008, San Fernando Valley Chromium Workshop Poster Session Documents can be found in the Community Involvement subsection and the San Fernando Valley Chromium Workshop Material can be found in the Technical Documents subsection of the Documents and Reports section above.

Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

Burbank Public Library,
Central Library,
110 North Glen Oaks Boulevard,
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 238-5580

City of Glendale Public Library,
222 East Harvard Street,
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 548-2021

City of Los Angeles Central Library
Science and Technical Department
630 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Stella Mittlebach
(213) 228-7216

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

Contacts

EPA Site Manager
Gary Riley
Kelly Manheimer
Kevin Mayer
Lynn Keller
Rebecca Connell
415-972-3003
415-972-3290
415-972-3176
415-947-4162
415-947-4278
Riley.Gary@epamail.epa.gov
Manheimer.Kelly@epamail.epa.gov
Mayer.Kevin@epamail.epa.gov
Keller.Lynn@epamail.epa.gov
Connell.Rebecca@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Jackie Lane
415-972-3236
1-800-231-3075
Lane.Jackie@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
415-947-8701
r9.info@epa.gov
State Contact

Death Water: Superfund Toxic Waste Advocacy Project

Before the 1970’s The United States had no Environmental Protection Agency.  Prior to the creation of The EPA if one owned a factory, they loaded up a tanker and then promptly dumped their toxic waste in their local canal or stream.  If they had a lot of toxic waste they put it in barrels and then buried it.  The whole thing sounds ridiculous until one reads the story of Love Canal or Valley of the Drums.

In particular, ‘Love Canal’ near Buffalo, New York was the site of one of the worst — at the time — toxic waste incidents in U.S. history:

In the mid-1970s Love Canal became the subject of national and international attention after it was revealed in the press that the site had formerly been used to bury 21,000 tons of toxic waste by Hooker Chemical (now Occidental Petroleum Corporation).  Hooker Chemical sold the site to the Niagara Falls School Board in 1953 for $1, with a deed explicitly detailing the presence of the waste, and including a liability limitation clause about the contamination. The construction efforts of housing development, combined with particularly heavy rainstorms, released the chemical waste, leading to a public health emergency and an urban planning scandal. Hooker Chemical was found to be negligent in their disposal of waste, though not reckless in the sale of the land, in what became a test case for liability clauses. The dump site was discovered and investigated by the local newspaper, the Niagara Falls Gazette, from 1976 through the evacuation in 1978. Potential health problems were first raised by reporter Michael H. Brown in July 1978.”

Long story short; The New York School system knew the land was polluted.  They built a school on top of the 21,000 tons of buried toxic waste, in drums, in spite of Hooker Chemical demanding the school district not do so.  Eventually, after being sued for the land, Hooker Chemical relented; The company agreed to sell the land for $1 with the recommendation that the school system not build a school on the polluted land while also attempting to assign liability for the buried toxic waste to the New York school system for any damages that would arise in the event of exposure, to the students, to hazardous chemicals.

Years later, people in, and around, the school started getting sick.  Local journalists furiously uncovered, and exposed, this blatant atrocity in the form of buried poison underneath a children’s playground.  The U.S. government was “shocked” that all of this had occurred.  As a result of Love Canal and other incidents the U.S Environmental Protection Agency was formed.  Almost a decade later, the EPA Superfund was created to clean up the worst of the worst toxic waste incidents in The U.S..

“Superfund or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) is a United States federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances as well as broadly defined “pollutants or contaminants”.  Superfund also gives authority to federal natural resource agencies, states and Indian tribes to recover natural resource damages caused by releases of hazardous substances, and created the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), CERCLA’s broad cleanup authority, to clean up releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or welfare or the (natural) environment was given primarily to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states.”

For the next forty years The US EPA, seemingly, worked towards exposing, isolating, and cleaning up toxic waste sites.  During those four decades they uncovered over 1,323 of these sites, to date.  For perspective, if you put a hot dog stand on top of every EPA Superfund site in The United States you’d have an automatic fast food chain the size of Denny’s.

June_MapOfTheMonth_Superfund4MileBufferPopulationDensity1

II.  Correlation doesn’t equal causation

What types of chemicals are found in these sites?  Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, TCE, Arsenic, Dioxin, Trichloroethylene (TCE), and PCB’s are the most common offenders. Hexavalent Chromium is the same nasty substance from the movie ‘Erin Brockovich,’ which ravaged the town of Hinkley, California, along with continually rising levels of Uranium in the ground water.  All of these substances have been proven to be hazardous to human health, hence the need for the Superfund project to begin with.

When we take the map of all of the cancer deaths in The US since 1980 a very visible correlation becomes apparent.

Since the subject of EPA Superfund sites is not something that is spoken about in every day circles; since most people have no idea that these sites exist in this abundance; since general practitioners and other medical professionals don’t generally keep a running tally of EPA Superfund sites in relation to the geographical location of their patients, this phenomenon of “toxic waste in your back yard”  has gone relatively unexplored in the mainstream national media, and medical communities, simply because a large percentage of people seems to be unaware that any of these events have happened, so it’s really hard to say if there is any real correlation between these sites and the cancer rate, in The U.S.

cancermap

Erin Brockovich, in the capacity of doing her work as an environmental advocate, runs a reporting website which assigns a “pin” to organic reports of illness, in The United States, from members of the public who believe they have been exposed to hazardous chemicals.  Erin’s infographics reveal even more of those “correlations.”

brockovich

Do these bits of evidences and correlations create causation? Nope.

But they prove that everywhere there are human beings there are Superfund sites, people with cancer, and people complaining that they have been exposed to volatile organic compounds.

The EPA and it’s efforts

Over the last four generations of Americans the EPA has done a lot to work towards cleaning this country up.  In spite of the constant calls for the agency’s closure, or refusals to gain support for an overhaul of the system in the 1990’s, The Environmental Protection Agency has tirelessly moved forward with the clean up efforts.

As the decades passed, however, glaring organizational idiosyncrasies have started to boil to the surface of the polluted water ways of the US EPA’s marketing efforts, in the form of internet accessible public records, most of which can be found in Google results.  When one starts to investigate any given EPA Superfund site, and the ways the public education campaigns have been administered, the truth become undeniably clear: all of this happened, all of it has been published, but very few people in The US know the true scope and magnitude of the ground water and soil pollution in this country.

How to locate your local Superfund site

For most people, in The United States, it’s not too hard to find your local EPA Superfund, toxic waste dump. Simply go to Google, type in the name of your town, and then the words EPA Superfund. Hit enter.  You will be immediately directed to hundreds of thousands of pages of documentation written, mostly, in language only scientists can understand.

Death Water Google
In the often bizarre cases of government conspiracies it almost seems like people are looking for a cover up.  We, as Americans, in this sad state of affairs we live in, expect our government to lie to us, to the point that even if The Fed tells the truth, no one believes them.  Some people expect to find genocide, or population control, in vapor trails, and evil in 9/11 conspiracy lore, false flags in domestic terrorism incidents; Alex Jones makes millions of dollars from this these theories.  In this case there is no invisible conspiracy.  There is no doubt The EPA has published most of this Superfund information.  No person, ever, could claim the things I am reporting on are a cover up, yet at the same time, if you travel the country like I have, speaking to Americans about the Superfund, you’ll find that most people have no clue that this multi-trillion dollar industry exists. 

 

Each Superfund record contains an explanation of the site, in plain English, and a section which details the size of the public information campaigns they’ve undertaken to let the residents who live in proximity to toxic waste sites know of their exposure to toxic waste.  Yet, if we pick an EPA Superfund site, and then process the numbers, we start to see that the figures associated with these marketing campaigns are so low as to render them completely ineffective.

One example is in Akron, Ohio, the site detailed out in my short film Poison in the Grapes.  The neighborhood has roughly 1,000 houses, or apartments.  The documentation for the site shows that only 300 mailers were sent out, “some to residents.” The local newspaper, Akron Beacon Journal, repeatedly, misreported on the subject matter while refusing to address the communities concerns, and still continues to do this to this very day.

Across the country in Los Angeles, in San Fernando Valley there were over 800,000 residential water customers were drinking Hexavalent Chromium directly out of their water faucets up until 1986.  The public education campaign for over half a million effected people was 1,800 mailers sent to residents. Currently, there are ground water pump stations situated all over San Fernando Valley furiously trying to rid the ground water supply of TCE and Hexavalent Chromium. At last report The EPA determined that the current method of remediation being used is “not effective.

Update: The EPA has raised the allowable limits of human exposure to chromium in order to bring this an other sites into “compliance.” A year after the EPA did this they released a statement that chromium-6 is “potentially” hazardous to human health.

If one did manage to put the aforementioned hot dog stands at each one of these sites you’d be out of business in a week for a bitter lack of advertising.  I was nothing but shocked to learn, when I outed Summit Equipment & Supplies, how many people in Castle Homes had no idea the dump was even there. I expected people to say, “Hey I remember that!” Instead, I got “How come I never heard about this?!”

If we continue this “low education” public awareness campaign for forty years, over 1,323 sites,  how many people does this leave who have been exposed to toxic waste without being informed?  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, including members of the military who have been exposed at US military bases, like Camp Lejune.

sIGNS2

What can you do to help?

At this point there is really nothing that can be done to fix this glaring national public health issue but to educate the public and hope that people will understand the risks of Superfund sites, and keep their children away from them, regardless of what The EPA says, because by their logic, they have a 100% positive track record for successful clean-ups, which is statistically and realistically impossible.  The EPA will come into a community, tell them a site needs to be cleaned up for being a danger to the public health, and at the same time they will have their community relations officers tell those very same affected residents, “There is nothing to fear.”

UC Berkeley recently released a study showing that parents who have been exposed to Superfund chemicals – like TCE – have offspring that experience a 25% higher chance of experiencing genetically predisposed illnesses, which arise from random genetic anomalies, like Autism, and Lukemia.  Pair this with the recent report that two thirds of all cancers occur from “random genetic anomalies,” which included no mention of the Superfund project, and you start to understand that the reality you think you live in is not the reality you actually live in, and if you demand the truth, you won’t get it.

The only real things you can do to help are to get this information out, make sure everyone knows, or start your own cause fighting to educate people to the silent monstrosity that is toxic waste.

This is a non-political issue.  When Metallica’s James Hetfield wants to hunt, kill, and eat a whole bear on stage he wants it to be healthy; he wants the environment he hunts in to be free of volatile organic compounds, and the animals he hunts to be healthy.  When The Daily Show’s John Stewart wants to have an intimate relationship with the forest he does not want to catch an S-Tree-D.

For once in our lives in this clusterfuck of bi-partisan madness we live in we have a found a subject we can all support.  All I ask is that you share this article and be aware of what is happening in your own world.

Thank you for reading,
Matthew Berdyck