Ahimsa Porter Sumchai MD
8 min readJun 14, 2022


A Multimedia Analysis of the June 1, 2022 Civil Grand Jury Report on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard


The City & County of San Francisco Civil Grand Jury (CGJ) is a government oversight panel of volunteers who make findings and recommendations based on its investigations. On June 1, 2022, the CGJ issued a sweeping investigation titled Buried Problems and a Buried Process: The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in a Time of Climate Change.

Youth vs The Apocalypse — Earth Day 2022
Youth vs The Apocalypse Earth Day 2022 Photo: AP Sumchai

“The Civil Grand Jury began this investigation with a question about the potential impact of groundwater rise due to climate change on the future of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. In brief, as sea level rises, shallow groundwater near the shore rises with it, and can cause flooding, damage infrastructure and mobilize contaminants in the soil. The Jury asked if rising groundwater could pose special risks to health and safety in the low-lying heavily polluted landscape of the Shipyard.” City & County of San Francisco Civil Grand Jury 2021–2022

SF Planning.org
CGJ Report Key Summary — Rising Groundwater at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard

The comprehensive report by the “Citizen Scientists” of the Jury is applaudable but constrained by lack of jurisdiction over the Navy, EPA and State regulators who are signatories to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard 1992 Federal Facilities Agreement. The Jury offered little to remedy exposures faced by the frontline community yet recognized the pivotal role community based environmental organizations played in formulation of the 2021–2022 report. Additionally, the June 1, 2022 report does not revisit key outstanding findings and recommendations made in the 2010/2011 CGJ Report — Hunters Point Shipyard -Shifting Landscapes.

Environmental Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Mappings document extent of radiation contamination Shipyard shoreline and clusters of radioactive biomarkers and radiogenic cancers detected by the Hunters Point Biomonitoring Foundation, Inc.

Hunters Point Biomonitoring Foundation medical researchers Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai and Dr. James Dahlgren met with a team of CGJ investigators in 2021 and 2022, contributing original content to the archive of documents referenced in the report, including geospatial mappings of chemicals of concern detected in residents and workers clustered along the radiation contaminated shoreline and western fence line of the federal Superfund system and it’s industrial landfill.

Radiogenic cancer cluster sited at the Palou Avenue Crisp Road entry to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, NRDL Laboratories and industrial landfill updated June 1, 2022. Note the yellow indicator pins assigned to residents and workers diagnosed with brain and central nervous system tumors and cancers clustered around the Crisp Road entry to the federal Superfund sites and red indicator pins assigned to residents with breast cancer encircling the half mile perimeter of the base.

The Jury concludes groundwater is expected to rise along with sea level rise and interact with hazardous toxins the Navy plans to leave buried in soil and landfills on the Shipyards southern shoreline.

Photo obtained on June 5, 2022 at the heavily contaminated yet publicly accessible South Basin Shoreline of an intersecting system of federal Superfund sites. In the backdrop are Alice Griffith apartments, Gilman playground and Bret Harte Elementary school. Photo: A P Sumchai
Extent of radiological contamination Hunters Point shoreline — NBC Bay Area [https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/san-francisco-hunters-point-contamination-cleanup-development/175231/?ampundefined]
What is Groundwater? https://www.groundwater.org/get-informed/basics/groundwater.html

The Jury concludes the “new science” of SLR identifies new risks not fully analyzed by the City or incorporated into the Shipyards development plans by the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the Navy and government regulators charged with oversight of the troubled mega development project.

Finding 5 — Civil Grand Jury Report 2021–2022
Map from SFPlanning.org documents the Islais Creek, Hunters Point Promontory and Candlestick Park region to be Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Zones.

The Jury concludes in Finding 3 that the process governing the Shipyard cleanup is extremely technical, burdened by voluminous documents and inhibiting to city leaders and the public who have little patience with and understanding of the process.

May 2018 San Francisco Board of Supervisors Hearing Hunters Point Naval Shipyard — Bradley Angel Director Greenaction in foreground. Photo: Examiner

An analysis of the impacts of sea level rise on the shoreline communities of Bayview Hunters Point appears in the 2020 report of the San Francisco Planning Department. It examined neighborhood profiles in Bayview South/Hunters Point and Bayview North/Islais Creek and projects an estimated 66 inches of sea level rise by the end of the century.

Trying to Build a Future on Toxic Ground — Marie Harrison, in utter exasperation, commands the podium of the Health Commission during the July 15, 2008 hearing to protest the deliberate concealment of an asbestos level of 138,000 fibers detected on May 30, 2018 at the Lennar Hunters Point construction site within days of the June 5, 2018 municipal election in which the Lennar sponsored ballot measure Proposition G went before the City electorate. Proposition G granted the mega-developer permission to construct 10,000 homes on a federal Superfund site. DPH did not release the astronomical asbestos exceedence until July 14th and despite the fact that shutdown levels for asbestos exceedences at the Lennar construction site were set at 16,000 fibers, DPH failed to shut down the site.

Trying to Build a Future on Toxic Ground

“This is a pattern with development in southeastern San Francisco. All along the City’s shoreline, plans for tens of thousands of homes and offices stretch from Mission Bay to Candlestick Point. This side of town is seen as the future because of the large swaths of land at relatively low cost, making it attractive to developers. But a big reason for the low land values is a century or more of soil and groundwater pollution from the City’s industrial past on the waterfront, and the land is not being cleaned up to the higher standards required for the new uses.” Marie Harrison [https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Trying-to-build-a-future-on-toxic-ground-12608336.php]

Aerial view — the south central Hunters Point shoreline community abuts a system of three federal Superfund sites at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the Parcel E-2 landfill and Yosemite Slough. https://sfbayview.com/2020/04/the-landfill-in-our-bodies/

“If you drink much from a bottle marked poison it is certain to disagree with you!”

Lewis Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Repeat urinary screening conducted in April 2022 on resident living at Shipyard western fence line documents new and worsening exposures. Body burden contains lead, aluminum, barium, cadmium, cesium, gadolinium, gallium, platinum, thallium, tin, uranium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, strontium, vanadium, zin, calcium and potassium in high normal to floridly toxic concentrations.
Photo of a backhoe excavator at the unfortified chain metal fence separating deep soil excavations on a federal Superfund property from homes, schools, playgrounds and daycare centers on the Hunters Point hilltop at Kiska Road. This photo was submitted with a complaint to the BAAQMD in June of 2020 when, by Executive Order of Mayor London Breed, construction was initiated at Parcel A-2 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and record breaking California wildfire season in the community with the second highest COVID-19 case rate.
Unprotected shipyard worker — photo courtesy Lennar
UCSF Workers sited in Building 830 at 75 Crisp Road are exposed to dangerous chemicals documented by the Navy and EPA to be present in Parcel E-2 soils, groundwater and landfills. Many have undergone biomonitoring screenings that detects Proposition 65 listed chemicals in aggregate. An internal scoping survey completed by UCSF in 2021 detected cesium, radium, thorium and progeny of uranium in concentrations exceeding background outside Building 830. An employee who has worked here full time for six years reported she and co-workers were strolling around the facility recently when a security guard cautioned, “this is radioactive!”
UCSF workers in Building 830 face intersecting pathways of exposure from landfill gas, airborne radioactive fugitive dust, groundwater, fill and bay mud.
Photo captured by UCSF Building 830 worker of the unfortified chain metal fence separating a radiologically impacted facility never cleared by CaDPH for human reuse from Navy operations deep soil excavations of the radiation contaminated Parcel E-2 shoreline and landfill.
Human health risk assessment from the Parcel E-2 Record of Decision documents cancer risks as high as 6 in 10,000 and Hazard Indices as high as 100 in the east adjacent area under the recreational scenario. An excess cancer risk of 1 in a million and a HI less than one are acceptable human exposure risks. Chemicals in Parcel E-2 groundwater include lead, arsenic, VOCs and petroleum hydrocarbons.
“If you drink much from a bottle marked “poison,” it is certain to disagree with you!” Lewis Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The Hunters Point Shipyard was assigned a Hazard Ranking Score of 100 for groundwater migration on November 21, 1989 when placed on the National Priorities List of federal Superfund sites by the EPA. The estimated cancer risk of intentional or unintentional drinking of Parcel E-2 shoreline groundwater is 5 in 1000 with a non cancer Hazard Index of 80!
Accessing the Contaminated Shoreline — Hunters Point Naval Shipyard — a federal Superfund Site on YouTube
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard shoreline and drydocks -beneath the clouds of an uncertain future.
Principle Recommendation — CGJ 2021/2022

The cleanup of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is addressed through Federal actions. The Navy is the lead agency for the site. Management of the site is conducted by a Base Closure Team or “BCT” that includes representatives from the Navy, EPA and CalEPA. In 1993 a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) was formed that included local, state and Federal agency representatives, community group representatives and local residents. Technical assistance grants were awarded to participating community groups.

In September 2009 the Navy dissolved the RAB and in so doing barred the City & County of San Francisco from a seat at the negotiating table for the Shipyard’s cleanup. In the aftermath of the dissolution of the RAB the Hunters Point Shipyard development plan was modified to site residential development in a Shipyard South Multiuse District (MUD)originally sited in Parcel E. The Navy objected to the proposed reuse and the MUD was sited in Parcel G — a rectangular parcel created “cookie cutter” style out of a region of heavily industrialized Parcel D. In October of 2021 Strontium-90 was detected by the Navy in concentrations exceeding background prompting the SFDPH to issue a press release on October 21, 2021 that reads, “The results of the soils analysis do not appear to pose an immediate public safety hazard…the Navy has stated the levels of Strontium-90 detected do not indicate a risk to human health or the environment.” Of note, Mayor London Breeds name appears beneath the logo of the City & County of San Francisco in the top left corner of the press release. Mayor London Breed met in her office with top executives of Lennar/Five Point two days earlier on October 19, 2022.

“Dragged beneath the metal plate of the Hunters Point Shipyard dirty development bulldozer are unaccounted -for victims of toxic exposure and a “landfill” of government sanctioned actions designed to deny the health threats residents face in the overdeveloped, heavily industrialized and densely polluted 94124 zip code.” Ahimsa Porter Sumchai MD — Houses in the Mud — SF Bayview
Civil Grand Jury Report 2021/2022 Finding 6

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand: Community Demands Reinstatement of the Hunters Point Shipyard RAB [https://sfbayview.com/2019/10/power-concedes-nothing-without-a-demand-community-demands-reinstatement-of-hunters-point-shipyard-rab/

The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board seats all Federal Facilities Agreement signatories along with the Navy Base Closure Team, city representatives and the full spectrum of elected community stakeholders representing CBO’s, the Artist Colony and local businesses. RAB meetings are fully transparent and its minutes are transcribed. The proceedings of the RAB must adhere to federal, state and local open government statutes.

Hunters Point Demands a Voice on Shipyard Cleanup. September 17, 2019 Petition to Reinstate the RAB denied by the Navy.
Findings and Recommendations of the 2010/2011 CGJ have not been addressed by the City & County of San Francisco.
Article 31 of the Health Code is a city law that requires the Health Director sign off on all work areas at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard anticipated to disturb 50 cubic yards of soil or more. The Department of Public Health benefits from a revenue stream for earth moving activities conducted by the Master Developer Lennar/Five Point. [https://www.sfdph.org/dph/EH/HuntersPoint/Article_31_Process.asp]
“Cha Ching” goes the cash register at the San Francisco Department of Public Health as 1.2 million cubic yards of soil and 35 feet of serpentinite rock were graded from the Hunters Point hilltop in 2006–2007 to create a graded separation between new homes at The Shipyard and the predominantly low income community of color that makes up Bayview Hunters Point.
Black Lives Mattered in September 2007 as representatives of Power led by Alicia Garza (l) and the Nation of Islam protest the “moonscape” created when the master developer Lennar excavated 1.2 million cubic yards of earth at the construction site and graded 35 feet from the Hunters Point hilltop to create a grade separation between the new homes built at The Shipyard and the predominantly low income Hunters Point neighborhood.
Looming over the San Francisco skyline iconic Hunters Point Gantry Crane is a historic landmark that stands 450 feet tall, 730 feet long and weighs 8,400 tons. It is the largest gantry crane in the world. Built to swap gun turrets on battleships, the Hunters Point Gantry Crane can lift over a million pounds.

Listen to the KQED Broadcast Rising Seas Could Bring Toxic Chemicals Flooding at: https://omny.fm/shows/kqed-segmented-audio/rising-seas-could-bring-toxic-chemicals-flooding-i

Read and Watch the Community Response to the CGJ Report at: https://sfbayview.com/2022/06/community-rallies-to-support-bombshell-report-on-hunters-point-shipyard/

Join virtual visits to the Hunters Point Shipyard western fence line and shore line at:https://youtu.be/hyderagVicw and https://youtu.be/h21yVxc6uqY and https://youtube.com/shorts/g0bPMSsznZ4?feature=share

Listen to the Commonwealth Club Panel Discussion titled Climate Justice: Radioactive and Toxic Waste, Racism and Rising Oceans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?y=LllsFKhqG88

Use Geographic Information Systems to Map Environmental Impacts in Bayview Hunters Point:

CalEnviroscreen 4.0: https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen

BAAQMD Interactive Data Maps: https://www.baaqmd.gov/about-air-quality/interactive-data-maps

BAAQMD Report Air/Odor Pollution Complaints: https://www.baaqmd.gov/online-services/air-pollution-complaints

Bayview Hunters Point IVAN: https://www.bvhp-ivan.org/

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Customized Google Earth Link created by author: https://earth.app.goo.gl/zBQ4xR

Air Quality Mapping Bayview Hunters Point — Open Map — Clarity Movement: https://openmap.clarity.io/?viewport=37.7777502,-122.3963348,11.41z

EJ Screen: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool/US EPA:https://www.epa.gov/ejscreen

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Documents & Historical Radiological Assessment:https://www.bracpmo.navy.mil/content/dam/bracpmo/california/former_naval_shipyard_hunters_point/pdfs/all_documents/environmental_documents/radiological/hps_200408_hra-pdf

United Nations Video — Advice from a dinosaur: Don’t choose extinction: https://youtu.be/MO7Dnhc40iY

Earth Day 2021 in San Francisco: https://sfbayview.com/2021/04/earth-day-2021-in-san-francisco/
Building 815 — Main headquarters for the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories is sited on Parcel A-2 where Lennar/Five Point is actively excavating soil to build new homes within feet of the radiation contaminated Parcel E-2 landfill.
Documentary, Research and Activism — Screening Documentary Never Surrender https://youtu.be/zypiEX-2ZfQ



Ahimsa Porter Sumchai MD

Founder, Director, PI - HP Biomonitoring/ Founding Chair- Radiological Committee Hunters Point Shipyard RAB 2001, Former Attending MD VA Toxic Registry & SFDPH