Site Mitigation & Restoration Program

We protect and maintain California’s land and places
by setting strict standards for land restoration and cleanup

Santa Susana Field Laboratory Cleanup Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is a roughly 2,850-acre site where rocket engine testing and nuclear research took place.

Who is responsible for SSFL site cleanup?

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is a department within California’s Environmental Protection Agency. DTSC regulates the handling and cleanup of hazardous waste in California. At SSFL, DTSC directs and oversees the site investigation and cleanup being conducted by three Responsible Parties (RPs): The Boeing Company (Boeing), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

What caused the contamination on site?

Chemicals in soil and groundwater came from testing and maintenance activities. The primary chemical contaminants include a variety of solvents (primarily trichloroethylene), metals and petroleum hydrocarbons. Radionuclides came from nuclear research activities.

Am I at risk from contamination traveling offsite from SSFL?

The migration of contamination from SSFL to the surrounding areas has been investigated and evaluated. Contamination at levels that pose a risk to human health are not traveling off-site.

What phase is the cleanup in?

Field sampling is complete. The investigation reports for soil and groundwater are in the review and approval process with DTSC project staff. Workplans and reports for evaluating potential cleanup technologies are being reviewed simultaneously.

Groundwater sampling and monitoring are ongoing, and the Groundwater Interim Measure is operating in the initial start-up phase.

In September 2017, DTSC issued the draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) to evaluate impacts to the environment from SSFL cleanup activities and identified measures to address those impacts. DTSC is preparing responses to the comments on the draft report and the final PEIR.

SSFL is an ongoing cleanup project that will take years to complete. The site will continue to be monitored to ensure the safety of the community and the environment.

What are the next steps?

  • Certification of the PEIR
  • Approval of Data Summary Reports for soil investigations in DOE and NASA areas
    • Public Review of their draft Cleanup Workplans
  • Approval of soil investigation reports for Boeing
    • Public Review of their draft Cleanup Workplans
  • Approval of groundwater investigation reports for all three RPs
    • Public review of the groundwater draft Cleanup Workplans

Reviews of the reports that need DTSC approval are taking place simultaneously. Cleanup Workplans are also being developed and reviewed. However, some of the Cleanup documents may be ready before others. DTSC will share each of the Cleanup Workplans as soon as the drafts are ready for public review.

Is there a higher risk of cancers around the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

Several health studies and data assessments have been performed on communities surrounding SSFL. See DTSC’s  summary of the findings document. View the full report “Summary of Cancer Study and Exposure Assessment Activities related to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (Rocketdyne) Site.”