Reader Rant: ‘It Would Be Disastrous if SeaWorld Proceeded With Hotel Construction and Workers Hit Another Pocket of Toxic Waste’

by on January 12, 2016 · 2 comments

in California, Environment, Health, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego, Sports

Mission Bay Landfill map ed2

Is this old San Diego Union map inaccurate?

SeaWorld Hotel Loca official

Official SeaWorld map showing “limit of toxic waste dump”.

Debate Continues on Whether SeaWorld Can Built Hotel on its Present Site

Editor:  The following “Reader Rant” by B. Ross was originally left as a comment to the article, “Sea World & Mission Bay: No Place to Play?” by Doug Porter, posted here on January 7, 2016. Ross’ comment was actually in response to another comment by “CK”, who has taken issue with a series of articles on the OB Rag about the old, Mission Bay landfill, which still rests below, at least, part of the land that SeaWorld leases. CK apparently owns and runs a pro-SeaWorld website. We appreciated Ross’ comment so much, that we repost it below, edited for clarity.

By B. Ross

The area for the old, Mission Bay landfill that CK  cites, in the article written to refute the OB Rag’s estimate of its area, is not accurate. Besides, the estimates for the size of the landfill are based on aerial photographs from that era. The City destroyed the majority of the records related to the landfill, which makes it impossible to prove either analysis correct.  The study of the dump site was undertaken in 2005, so why point to 2002 data?

The Reader, San Diego UT and other sources in 2006 showed an area that is bigger than what CK shows and smaller than the map from the OB Rag story.

Either way there is no debate that that landfill was unlined, and hence toxins could have migrated from the original landfill site in the 50+ years since the dump was closed. The study said it is probably safe as long as it is left alone. So in truth, neither the OB Rag or CK know for sure.

There is also no debate that Ramada abandoned their planned hotel for the site in 1983 amid toxic concerns. The City tried to fast track approval of the project at the time by bringing in a consultant to do a quick study to vouch for the area’s safety.

The study came up with an estimate of the area for the landfill. They were wrong.

During excavation of South Shores Park in 1988 a pocket of hydrogen sulfide gas was released that sent a number of the workers to the hospital. Hydrogen sulfide was not even among the toxic wastes listed in the City’s fat-track study.

Reddish-orange seepage from the excavation site proved to be dichloroethane, TCA and carbon tetrachloride (a known carcinogen). The carbon tetrachloride concentrations were 900 times the EPA safe limit for drinking water.

In 2003 a triathlon was held that included swimming through the South Shores area. A number of triathletes experienced long-term gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses following this race. While there is no way to be certain, many felt it was due to toxins from the former dump site. This was also well covered in local mainstream media.

CK had better hope that he/she is right about the hotel site not being affected. If they are wrong it could be disastrous for the workers if another pocket of toxic waste is exposed.

Supporters of SeaWorld make a big mistake attributing this opposition to “animal rights activists”. Gormlie is no animal rights activist and has no apparent connection to PETA, and neither do the majority of the neighborhood activists who oppose SeaWorld based on bad neighbor reasons.

Things like the Prop-D referendum to build over 30 feet, the fireworks, SeaWorld drive traffic, dumping whale feces into Mission Bay, etc. Some people just have a longer memory I suppose.

PETA is full of attention-seekers and their tactics and protests make them standout from others. It is easy to tell them apart from neighborhood activists. If SeaWorld supporters spent more time listening to real concerns and less time trying to infiltrate and discredit groups with valid concerns maybe they would have more support.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Casey January 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

Doesn’t SeaWorld have enough problems and enough enemies at this point? Why on earth would they even CONSIDER such a controversial plan? I don’t think we have anything to worry about, since the toxins buried there are ridiculously harmful and SO many people would be at risk of getting severely ill; if this project is approved it will be a huge shock.

The folks at SeaWorld seem to be very good at making horrible decisions. Why not cut their losses with this proposal and just face the fact that the land cannot be built on safely? It’s almost like a joke at this point – JOEL MANBY: “hey guys, how about a family resort on a toxic landfill?” OTHER SEAWORLD SUITS: “Great idea Joel! Damn, why didn’t I think of that?”


mjt January 12, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Sea World is a sinking ship. Arms frailing reaching for a lifeline.
They are overextended, probably flirting with bankruptcy.


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