Data on Offsite Migration of Contamination from SSFL Presented at June 18 Work Group meeting

The SSFL Work Group meeting was featured in KNBC 4 news segment, “Decades-Long Toxic Waste Cleanup Efforts Inadequate, Residents Say.”

The June 18 meeting of the Work Group was a resounding success, with full audience, informative presentations, and thoughtful comments and questions from the community.

Highlights from the meeting included:

  • Offsite Soil Contamination map from 2003

    Map showing SSFL offsite soil contamination 1992-94

    Dr. Adrienne Katner of the Louisiana State University School of Public Health presented on a multiyear study funded by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry of potential exposures in neighboring areas from the different contaminants that have migrated from SSFL offsite. See report here and PowerPoint here.
  • Dr. Robert Dodge presented on the health effects of perchlorate, dioxin, and lead, three contaminants from SSFL that have migrated offsite. Click here to view his remarks.
  • New data on contaminant migration from SSFL was presented by a team of students from the University of California at Santa Cruz working under the direction of Dan Hirsch. Among their findings:
    • Pollutants have left SSFL in surface water runoff at levels exceeding pollution limits 216 times in the last few years.
    Number of Exceedances of Surface Water Pollution Limits 2008-2014

    Number of Exceedances of Surface Water Pollution Limits 2008-2014

    • Perchlorate, a toxic rocket fuel component, has been found seven different times between 2006-2010 in a supply well used to provide drinking water to customers in Simi Valley, at levels slightly below California’s Maximum Contaminant Limit but significantly above the limit imposed in Massachussetts and 4-5 times the newly recommended California Public Health Goal. Click here to view PowerPoint on both surface water runoff exceedances and perchlorate and here for narrative.
    • Boeing has been fined $1.2 million since 2000 for violating pollution discharge limits, but the violations continue. The average annual fine represents one millionth of Boeing’s annual revenues, the equivalent of a six cent fine for an average family. Click here to view PowerPoint.
    • Despite Cease and Desist, Curtailment and Abatement, and Interim Source Removal Action Orders issued by the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board to stop the exceedances of pollution limits in surface water leaving the site, the violations continue, as recently as a few months ago. Click here to view PowerPoint.
    DOE Radioactive Soil Cleanup with 2010 Agreement vs. Boeing Cleanup Alternatives

    DOE Radioactive Soil Cleanup with 2010 Agreement vs. Boeing Cleanup Alternatives

    • If the 2010 commitments to clean up contamination at SSFL to background were not kept, and alternative cleanup standards put forward by Boeing were adopted instead, 98% of the radioactive contamination found by US EPA at SSFL would not get cleaned up. Click here to view PowerPoint and here to view narrative.
  • Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap summarized recent actions by the Department of Energy (DOE), NASA, and DTSC that raise questions about their commitment to the 2010 cleanup agreements and related promises. DOE, he said, had issued a scoping notice for its Environmental Impact Statement that included a number of options that would breach the agreement. NASA has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that defers deciding whether to live up to the cleanup agreement for cleaning up the contaminated soil. And DTSC, he said, had decided to allow Boeing to use a “suburban residential” cleanup standard that is less protective than the agricultural/rural residential or background standards that DTSC in 2010 said longstanding DTSC requirements mandate.
  • Richard Hume of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) confirmed that DTSC was now basing the cleanup of the Boeing portion of SSFL on the less protective “suburban residential” standard. He indicated DTSC had taken no steps to enforce the cleanup agreements in response to the NASA ROD and DOE scoping notices, but that DTSC was confident DOE and NASA would comply with their agreements. He said that it was DTSC’s reading of the DOE scoping notice that it did not include alternatives that would violate the cleanup agreement.
  • In an exchange that followed, Dan Hirsch challenged that statement and pointed to two alternatives adopted by DOE in the notice that involved all or part of the contamination remaining at SSFL rather than being treated or removed, whereas the cleanup agreement bars consideration of any “leave-in-place” or “onsite disposal” alternatives. The Work Group promised to post the documents in question, which are available here and here, so people can read and decide for themselves.
  • Comments from the audience expressed concern about making sure the agencies lived up to their cleanup commitments and wanting to know what can be done to make sure that happens. There also was interest in exploring alternative routes for transporting the cleanup materials to disposal sites. Community members were urged to send in to the Work Group suggestions for specific alternative routes that should be considered.

The next SSFL Work Group will be announced soon. Please contact us and let us know if there is an issue you would like to see discussed or if you would like to get involved.

Thank you for your continued support and participation!

June 18 SSFL Work Group Meeting

June 18 SSFL Work Group Meeting