Scientists Say Mothball Fleet Not Contaminating Bay

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 12, 2009

They say the mothballed fleet near Benicia in Solano County is not a major source of environmental contamination.

Rob Ricker is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

“We did document paint in the sediments but we didn’t see elevated levels of heavy metals that are used in some of the paint formulations. We did not document concentrations that we consider to be injurious to the animals living in the sediments.” 

Ricker says based on their findings, NOAA is not recommending any specific cleanup of sediments near the fleet of more than 70 ships. But Sejal Choksi with the environmental group Baykeeper says the study is limited in scope. 

“It did not look at the overall impact to the bay. And so when you’re looking at the pollutants that are coming off of these vessels you need to take into account that the sediment is moving and these pollutants are not going to stay static.”  

Baykeeper and other environmental groups are suing the federal government to remove the ships and manage them at a land-based hazardous waste site.