Department of Toxic Substances Control Department of Toxic Substances Control

SSFL Facility Investigation

Site Activity Overview  |  Facility Investigation  |  Interim Measures


SB 990, effective on January 1, 2008, allows DTSC to clean up the site under the requirements and procedures of the California Superfund Law, and to be enforced under the authority of either the California Superfund Law or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The new law gives DTSC the authority to oversee all aspects of the cleanup including both chemical and radioactive wastes, and allows the use of the State Superfund’s risk assessment process for both the radiological and toxic contamination. It also requires DTSC to use the highest and most protective cleanup standards provided under the "rural residential (agricultural)" land use designation.

Santa Susana Field Laboratory is currently in the Facility Investigation phase. The RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) goals were to characterize the nature and extent of chemical contamination in all environmental media at the SSFL, evaluate risks to humans and the environment, and gather data to support the cleanup (the final step on the RFI process). These goals will be met and enhanced under the provisions of SB 990 and the California Superfund Law.

Groundwater investigations began in 1984 under the direction of the The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). In 1988, the program oversight transferred to DTSC. Since the early 1980s, SSFL characterization has proceeded along two parallel paths, one for groundwater and the other for soils and related media on the surface of the property. Sampling for the RFI has continued since 1996 according to DTSC-approved work plans or as directed during the field program.

At SSFL there are 51 identified RFI sites which are grouped into 11 Group Reporting Areas.  To review the RFI reports, please visit the RCRA Facility Investigation – Soils page and the RCRA Facility Investigation - Groundwater page under the Document Library on this Web site. A map of the RFI report areas can be found on the Maps page.

Since 1984, more than 400 groundwater monitoring wells were drilled at the site to evaluate and monitor the contamination in groundwater.  These wells have been sampled routinely over the years.  In addition to drilling wells and collecting and analyzing groundwater samples, the nature of the groundwater system has been investigated through deep corings and a variety of investigation tools.  A comprehensive Remedial Investigation (RI) report has been prepared which details the groundwater data and groundwater investigation conducted at SSFL over the past two decades.  The Site-Wide Groundwater Remedial Investigation report can be found on the RCRA Facility Investigation - Groundwater page under the Document Library.

The data collected has provided valuable information and insight into the movement of groundwater and contaminants at the site. This detailed level of characterization is scheduled to continue over the next few years with the goal of understanding the nature and extent of contaminants in the groundwater at the site. This information will make it possible to make decisions regarding short-term and long-term remediation program approaches for groundwater cleanup.