47,000 Barrels Of Radioactive Waste Dumped Near San Franciscos, Gulf of the Farallones Disposal Issues – USGS PCMSC

Between 1946 and 1970, approximately 47,800 large barrels and other containers of radioactive waste were dumped in the ocean west of San Francisco. The containers were to be dumped at three designated sites, but they a litter sea floor area of at least 1,400 km2 known as the Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump.The exact location of the containers and the potential hazard the containers pose to the environment are unknown.The USGS developed computer techniques and contracted with private industry to enhance sidescan- sonar data–collected in cooperation with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary–to detect objects as small as 55-gallon steel barrels while conducting regional sidescan-sonar surveys. Locations of probable 55-gallon containers derived from the enhanced sidescan sonar images were plotted on a map covering a 125-km2 area.

Source: Gulf of the Farallones Disposal Issues – USGS PCMSC