Rick Gentry, the San Diego Housing Commission CEO, told a City Council committee today that his agency has no evidence the agency illegally dumped hazardous lead waste during the last decade.

“Regardless of what the allegations may have been, whether there was truth to them or not, we haven’t seen evidence that there was,” Gentry told the council, during a presentation that lasted barely five minutes.

But the commission doesn’t have evidence that its contractors doing lead paint remediation projects legally dumped waste. It doesn’t know either way, and it should. And that’s why this is an issue to begin with.

It’s possible none of the projects’ debris was hazardous and could’ve gone to the Miramar Landfill anyway. But it’s more likely some hazardous lead waste went to the landfill that shouldn’t have. The Los Angeles Housing Department, which does similar remediation projects, estimates about 30 percent of its resulting waste is deemed hazardous.

The commission has taken steps to address the problem. It will no longer pay contractors unless they’ve provided documentation that debris has properly been disposed. That’s a step that has been missing for the last decade.

Another presentation on the issue from city environmental officials is scheduled in July.


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