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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL)

EPA #: CAN000908498

State: California(CA)

County: Ventura

City: Simi Valley

Congressional District: 0

Other Names: Rocketdyne, Energy Technology and Engineering Center (ETEC)

Bulletin Board

As of January 2013, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is conducting all public engagement activities for the SSFL site. For additional information about DTSC’s community involvement program at the site, please contact Marina Perez, Public Participation Specialist, at (818) 717-6569 or e-mail her at Marina.Perez@dtsc.ca.gov.

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Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Non-NPL

Proposed Date:

Final Date:

Deleted Date:

Background. The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is a 2,850 acre site located in Ventura County, California, approximately 2 miles south of the City of Simi Valley and 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The site is divided into four areas which are under different ownership. Boeing owns Areas I, III and IV. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) owns and administers Area II and owns 42 acres of Area I. Since 1948, the principal activities in Areas I, II, and III of the SSFL have been large rocket engine research, assembly, and testing by Rocketdyne and NASA. From 1956 to 1988, the Energy Technology and Engineering Center (ETEC), which is located in Area IV was used by Rocketdyne and the Department of Energy (DOE) for nuclear energy research and development. All these past site operations have resulted in soil and groundwater contamination. Primary chemical contaminants include a variety of radionuclides, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons.

Site Cleanup Status. Cleanup actions of chemical contamination are being conducted by DOE, Boeing and NASA under the direction and oversight of the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). DTSC is using the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as its regulatory authority. The extent of chemical contamination has not been fully characterized, but it is estimated that more than 500,000 gallons of TCE is beneath the Site. Radionuclides associated with ETEC nuclear operations include tritium, plutonium-238, plutonium-239, iodine-131, strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, thorium-228, and uranium-235. Decommission and demolition of ETEC buildings has been conducted by DOE pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act. In accordance with a court order in 2007, DOE stopped its cleanup work in Area IV and is now working on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

EPA’s Role. The 2008 Federal Appropriations Law (HR2764) directed DOE to use a portion of DOE funding for the SSFL site to enter into an interagency agreement with the EPA to conduct a joint comprehensive radioactive site characterization of Area IV of the SSFL in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). This resulted in EPA taking on and completing the following two studies at SSFL:

1. Radiological Background Study. In July 2008, an Inter-Agency Agreement was signed whereby DOE gave EPA $1.5 million to commence a radiological background study for the SSFL site. The purpose of the background study is to determine “ambient or background” levels radiation found in soils not affected by the SSFL site operations. The October 2011 EPA Background Study Report is available for review in the "Investigation and Cleanup" section below and at the SSFL public information repositories listed below.

2. Radiological Study at SSFL Area IV. In June 2009, EPA and DOE amended the Inter-Agency Agreement to provide EPA an additional $40 million to fully fund a radiological study of Area IV and the adjacent northern buffer zone. The majority of the funds ($38.3 million) originate from funding allocated to DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A map indicating the boundaries of EPA radiological study is provided in a PDF file attached at the top of this website page. EPA's Area IV radiological study consisted of the following projects:

    Historical Site Assessment. This project consisted of EPA's independent review of documents concerning past radiological operations and past spills and releases of radiological materials at SSFL. The goal of this project was to identify the full universe of potential radiological contaminants and locations where radiological contaminants remaining in Area IV and the northern buffer zone came to be located.

    Gamma Radiation Scan. This project consisted of scanning the accessible areas of the Area IV and the northern buffer zone to identify locations of elevated gamma radiation. A gamma scanning vehicle was specially designed by EPA and constructed for this project. Any gamma radiation "hot spots" identified by the gamma scan vehicle and other scanning equipment were then sampled by EPA for full range of potential radiological contaminants.

    Testing of Soil, Groundwater and Surface Water. Based on information collected during the Historical Site Assessment and Gamma Scanning, this project consisted of testing the soil, groundwater and surface water (i.e. seep water) for a broad range of potential radiological contaminants.


EPA's final data report for the Area IV radiological study was issued in December 2012.

Radiological Technical Advisor during Cleanup of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone. Pursuant to administrative order on consent (AOC) between DTSC and DOE, EPA is to provide technical assistance on the radiological issues during cleanup in Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone. Under the AOC, EPA was asked to conduct post cleanup confirmatory radiation assessment in areas where cleanup was performed to verify completion of cleanup. In addition, EPA was asked to verify that backfill/replacement soils do not exceed local background for radioactive components.


National Priorities List and the SSFL site. SSFL is not on EPA’s National Priority List (NPL) and therefore it is not considered a federal “Superfund site”. In November 2007, EPA issued a CERCLA Preliminary Assessment/Site Investigation (PA/SI) report. This report along with other information indicated that SSFL may be eligible for placement on the NPL. In December 2007, EPA sent a letter to the State of California requesting its position in this matter and in January 2009 the State decided to not support to listing SSFL on the NPL. Therefore, the California DTSC will continue in its role as lead regulatory agency at the SSFL site. As lead regulator, DTSC's role includes oversight and approval of risk assessment, clean-up levels, and clean-up actions at the SSFL site. EPA's role shall be limited to providing technical assistance on radiological issues in Area IV and the northern buffer zone as described above.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater
  • Surface Water
  • Soil and Sludges
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area

Please see http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SiteCleanup/Santa_Susana_Field_Lab/ for information on chemical contamination at the site.


Please see http://www.etec.energy.gov/char_cleanup/cleanup_index.html for information on radiological contamination at the site.

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Who is Involved

As described in the "Description and History" section of this website, this site is being addressed by both State and Federal actions.

The state of California agencies involved at this site include the DTSC and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). DTSC is the overall regulatory lead for the SSFL site. RWQCB is overseeing cleanups of soil contamination in and near site drainages that are regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Boeing, NASA and DOE are conducting investigation and cleanup work under DTSC direction and oversight.

EPA is currently providing limited technical assistance on radiological issues in Area IV and the adjacent northern buffer zone.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

EPA's radiological studies at the SSFL site were completed. Currently, under DTSC's request, EPA provides technical and consultation services regarding the building removal at the SSFL site.

Please see http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SiteCleanup/Santa_Susana_Field_Lab/ for information on Investigation and Cleanup Activities done under State of California direction and oversight.

Please see http://www.etec.energy.gov/char_cleanup/cleanup_index.html for information on Investigation and Cleanup Activities of radiological contamination conducted by the Department of Energy.

Site Studies

Please see http://www.epa.gov/region09/waste/sfund/santasusana/index.html for information on EPA's Preliminary Assessment/Site Investigation (PA/SI)

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Cleanup Results to Date

Please see the Investigation and Cleanup Activities section above.

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Potentially Responsible Parties

Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.


To date, EPA has no role on identifying the PRPs for this site.

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Documents and Reports


Hide details for Community InvolvementCommunity Involvement
03/01/10Community Involvement Plan
01/01/111 - EPA TECHNICAL STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS (March 9, 2010 to February 22, 2012)
01/01/112 - EPA COMMUNITY MEETING PRESENTATIONS (December 11, 2008 to December 12, 2012)
01/01/113 - EPA PRESENTATIONS TO SSFL INTERAGENCY WORKGROUP (October 22, 2009 to September 8, 2011)
01/01/114 - ACCESS AGREEMENTS (December 8, 2009 to March 12, 2010)
01/01/115 - EPA LETTERS (February 24, 2009 to June 18, 2010)
01/01/116 - EPA ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRESS REPORTS (July 2009 to December 2012)
01/01/117 - DTSC COMMUNITY MEETING PRESENTATIONS
(December 5, 2012 to December 12, 2012)
Hide details for Fact SheetsFact Sheets
11/25/08U.S. EPA to hold Community Meeting on Radiological Background Study
05/12/09DOE and EPA Sign Funding Agreement on Radiological Study
06/26/09EPA Meeting on SSFL Radiological Studies
04/21/10EPA Meeting on SSFL Radiological Studies
11/12/10SSFL Area IV Radiological Study Begins
02/01/11News Update February 2011
07/22/11SSFL Radiological Background Study Report Available for Public Review and Comment
05/08/12EPA Radiation Investigation Update
11/29/12EPA Radiological Characterization Study Results
Hide details for MapsMaps
03/01/10Aerial Photographic Analysis of Santa Susana Field Laboratory - Area IV, Volume 1
03/01/10Aerial Photographic Analysis of Santa Susana Field Laboratory - Area IV, Volume 2 (Figures 1 - 7)
03/01/10Aerial Photographic Analysis of Santa Susana Field Laboratory - Area IV, Volume 2 (Figures 8 - 14)
03/01/10Aerial Photographic Analysis of Santa Susana Field Laboratory - Area IV, Volume 2 (Figures 15 - 21)
03/01/10Aerial Photographic Analysis of Santa Susana Field Laboratory - Area IV, Volume 2 (Figures 22 - 27)
08/10/12Soil Sample Locations - Round 1 and Round 2
Hide details for Technical DocumentsTechnical Documents
01/01/011 - RADIOLOGICAL BACKGROUND STUDY WORKPLANS AND REPORTS (August 2009 to October 2011)
01/01/012 - AREA IV HISTORICAL SITE ASSESSMENT (August 24, 2010 and October 25, 2010)
01/01/013 - AREA IV GAMMA SCAN SURVEY WORKPLANS AND REPORTS (February 19, 2010 and February 22, 2010)
01/01/014 - AREA IV WATER TESTING WORKPLANS AND REPORTS (July 28, 2010 to July 24, 2012)
01/01/015 - AREA IV SOIL TESTING WORKPLANS AND REPORTS - ROUND 1 (October 6, 2010 to August 17, 2012)
01/01/016 - AREA IV SOIL TESTING WORKPLANS AND REPORTS - ROUND 2 (June 14, 2011 to December 21, 2012)
01/01/017 - GEOPHYSICAL INVESTIGATION AREA IV RADIOLOGICAL STUDY PLAN AND REPORT (August 5, 2010 to December 2, 2011)
12/05/08Scoping Document For Development Of Radiation Survey Of A
Background Reference Area And Area IV/Buffer Zone
04/01/09EPA DOE Agreement on Area IV Rad Study
01/21/10EPA's QUARTERLY PROGRESS REPORTS TO DOE - AREA IV RADIOLOGICAL STUDY (October 2009 and January 2010)
05/25/10U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE LETTERS (October 5, 2009 to May 25, 2010)
06/16/10CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME LETTERS (February 18, 2010 to June 16, 2010)
09/24/10Site Management Plan
12/01/10STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER - CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION LETTERS (June 3, 2010 to December 1, 2010)
08/08/11EPA'S QUARTERLY AND ANNUAL BIOLOGICAL MONITORING REPORTS (October 22, 2010 to August 8, 2011)
10/17/12Final Gamma Radiation Scanning Report - Area IV Radiological Study
11/27/12Final Technical Memorandum Look-up Table Recommendations - Santa Susana Field Laboratory Area IV Radiological Study
12/21/12Final Surface Water and Sediment Report - Area IV Radiological Study

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Community Involvement

Public Meetings: During 2012, U. S. EPA transitioned its Community Involvement program to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which is now conducting all public engagement activities for the SSFL site. For additional information about DTSC’s community involvement program at the site, please contact Marina Perez, Public Participation Specialist, at (818) 717-6569 or e-mail her at Marina.Perez@dtsc.ca.gov. EPA has placed project documents and reports in the Information Repositories and on EPA’s web site or the DTSC web site: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/sitecleanup/Santa_Susana_Field_Lab.

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

DTSC Chatsworth Office Records room
9211 Oakdale Avenue
Chatsworth, California 91311
(818) 717-6521

Simi Valley Library
2969 Tapo Canyon Road
Simi Valley, California 93063
(805) 526-1735

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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Contacts

EPA Site Manager
Loren Henning
415-972-3164
Henning.Loren@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
David Yogi
415-972-3350
1-800-231-3075
Yogi.David@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
415-947-8701
r9.info@epa.gov
State Contact
Mark Malinowski, DTSC
SSFL Performance Mgr


Marina Perez DTSC
Public Participant Spec
916-255-3717



818-717-6569
866-495-5651
MMalinow@dtsc.ca.gov



Marina.Perez@dtsc.ca.gov
Sacramento Field Office
8800 Cal Center Drive
Sacramento, 95826-3200

Chatsworth Field Office
9211 Oakdale Avenue
Chatsworth, 91311-6505
PRP Contact
DOE: Stephie Jennings






NASA: Merrilee Fellows







Boeing: Phil Rutherford
818-466-8162






818-393-0754







818-466-8840
stephanie.jennings@emcbc.doe.gov,






mfellows@nasa.gov







philip.d.rutherford@boeing.com
Stephie Jennings,
Department of Energy
Energy Technology Engineering Center
PO Box 10300
Canoga Park, CA 91309

Merrilee Fellows
NASA Manager for Community Involvement  for Environmental Remediation
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Phillip Rutherford
Manager, Health, Safety & Radiation Services
The Boeing Company
5800 Woolsey Canyon Rd
Canoga Park, CA 91304
www.boeing.com/aboutus/environment/santa_susana/index.html
Community Contact












Other Contacts

 
After Hours (Emergency Response)
US EPA
(800) 424-8802

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