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Government Will Test L.A. Dog Park for Radiation

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The government this week will begin testing a West Los Angeles dog park and surrounding area where radioactive waste was buried during the Cold War.

"We want to put everyone's fears to rest and reassure everyone that there isn't any danger," said Shana Boehm, a program analyst for the Veterans Administration in Westwood.

From 1952 to 1968, the VA and researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, dumped biomedical waste from radiation experiments in the area that now houses the Barrington Dog Park and athletic fields for the exclusive Brentwood School.

The government performed tests before the facilities were built, VA officials said.

However, there are few complete records of what was buried, said Michael Noel, president of Millennium Consulting Associates, which the VA has hired to conduct a new study.

Environmental and community activists believe the waste included carcasses of animals used in radiation experiments, barrels of radioactive tritium and other toxic chemicals.

"We need to get to the bottom of this and find out what was buried, when it was buried and how much was buried," Noel said. "The more important thing is whether what's buried there poses a risk to the community and to the environment."

Noel told the Los Angeles Times that he will begin mapping the 25 to 30 acres of land this week to prepare for radiation measurements and hopes to have a preliminary report by the end of January.

Next spring, survey crews will begin drilling 80 feet into the ground for samples to test for radiation and other toxic materials.

Groundwater testing also will be done, he said.

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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