News Release

T – 16 – 17
Barbara A. Lee, Director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2017

Contact: Russ Edmondson
(916) 323-3372
Russ.Edmondson@dtsc.ca.gov

DTSC Releases Draft PEIR and Program Management
Plan for Santa Susana Field Lab

45-Day Public Comment Period Begins

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) today released the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) and the Draft Program Management Plan (PMP) for soil and groundwater cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL). Today also begins a public comment period, which will end on October 23, 2017.

One of the most heavily contaminated and complex cleanup sites in California, SSFL is a former nuclear research and rocket engine test facility near Simi Valley (Ventura County) that operated from 1948 until 2006. The site is principally owned by The Boeing Company, and NASA also owns a portion of the site. The Department of Energy (DOE) also operated at the site. Boeing, NASA, and DOE are responsible for cleaning up their own areas of SSFL.

“After extensive work to understand the full nature and extent of contamination, DTSC is moving the cleanup process forward and holding the parties that contaminated Santa Susana accountable,” said DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee.

The draft PMP and draft PEIR will require DOE and NASA to comply with cleanup agreements known as the 2010 Administrative Orders on Consent. These orders require DOE and NASA to clean up their areas of SSFL to natural background levels, eliminating contamination caused by SSFL while also protecting cultural and biological resources.

In April, Boeing recorded a conservation easement for its portion of SSFL. Notwithstanding the recording of the easement, the Draft PEIR analyzes the environmental impacts of the most extensive set of cleanup activities evaluated for the Boeing project.

“DTSC will continue to use the best available science to protect human health and the environment,” said DTSC Deputy Director of Brownfields and Environmental Restoration Mohsen Nazemi. “And, we will continue to involve the public as we move forward in the cleanup process.”

SSFL opened in 1948 and for nearly six decades activities included research, development and testing of rocket engines, lasers, experimental nuclear reactors and related technologies. These uses resulted in soil and groundwater contamination that includes petroleum fuels, solvents, propellant (perchlorate), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and radionuclides.

Since the major facility activities ceased in 2006, DTSC has required several cleanups to address specific, uncontrolled threats caused by SSFL contamination. Given the complexity and extent of SSFL’s contamination, DTSC has used hundreds of site reports, studies and other documents, including data from more than 10,000 sample locations, in developing the draft PMP and draft PEIR released today.

The draft PEIR describes the potential environmental impacts from cleanup activities, and identifies actions that DTSC may require DOE, NASA, and Boeing to take to avoid or reduce those impacts. The draft PMP serves as a roadmap for completing the cleanup and will assist in managing the complex project.

As required by the California Environmental Quality Act, the draft PEIR also evaluates several alternatives to the proposed cleanup and their potential impacts, and provides DTSC and the public with the most complete analysis of these possible impacts.

DTSC believes public involvement is crucial in the success of the PEIR process. The public comment period for the Draft PEIR and Draft PMP will be 45 days, from September 7 until October 23. DTSC will also hold two public meetings during the public comment period:

  • Thursday, October 5, 2017, from 6 – 9 p.m. in Simi Valley (Grand Vista Hotel)
  • Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 2 – 5 p.m. in Chatsworth (St. John Eudes Church)

Key SSFL Cleanup Agreements:

  • 2007 Consent Order: Initial agreement between DTSC and the three responsible parties to define the soil and groundwater investigation needs and implement a risk-based cleanup.
  • 2010 Administrative Orders on Consent (AOCs) between DTSC, DOE, and NASA: These orders redefined the process for investigation and cleanup of soil in DOE and NASA’s areas, requiring them to clean up contaminated soil to background levels.
  • Boeing will conduct its soil cleanup under the 2007 Consent Order’s risk-based standard, which is different from the soil cleanup requirements for DOE and NASA (cleanup to background).
  • The 2007 Consent Order governs the groundwater cleanup for all three responsible parties.

Previous Cleanup Activities:

Several contaminated soil remediation and removal activities have been conducted at SSFL. The major soil remediation and removal activities efforts conducted to date are included in the draft PMP.

More information can be found on our Site Mitigation and Restoration Program page.

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.