Boeing

Santa Susana landscape

Santa Susana

Boeing has made significant progress with cleanup and restoration, and is moving toward the company’s goal of preserving Santa Susana as open space.

Remediation and Restoration

The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a 2,850-acre site with a rich history. Virtually every major U.S. space program, from the first manned Mercury flights to the Apollo moon landings and Space Shuttle fleet, owes part of its success to Santa Susana. It was also the site of energy research and development for the U.S. government, including leading-edge nuclear, solar and sodium technology.

Since acquiring its portion of the site in 1996, Boeing has made significant progress with cleanup and restoration, and is moving toward the company’s goal of preserving Santa Susana as open space. The transformation of Santa Susana from field laboratory to open space is well underway, with native plants and animals reclaiming most of the previously developed areas of the property.

Boeing Response to Kuehl, Englander, Pavley Letter

Open Letter about Santa Susana Cleanup

Santa Susana EIR One-pager

Santa Susana Backgrounder

Stormwater Fact Sheet

Feature Stories

Earth Day, Every Day

Earth Day, Every Day

June 2, 2015 in Environment, Community

From cleanup crews to cougars and conservation groups, the Santa Susana site in Southern California buzzes with life every day.

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From Space Race to Open Space

From Space Race to Open Space

April 21, 2014 in Environment

Art Lenox leads key parts of Boeing’s remediation program at Santa Susana in Simi Valley, Calif., a site that was previously used for government rocket-engine testing and energy research.

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A Natural Winner

A Natural Winner

March 20, 2013 in Environment

Boeing's stormwater management strategy for Santa Susana involves a biofilter, which uses natural processes to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff.

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An Extraordinary Past

Santa Susana landscape

The modern world has been substantially shaped by technological breakthroughs at the former Santa Susana Field Laboratory. A rocket engine testing and energy research site used for federal government programs, Santa Susana was where thousands of workers tested rocket engines used to defend the country, land on the moon, and launch satellites for GPS and cell phones. It was also a test site for advanced energy research programs. After more than 50 years of operation, nuclear research ended in 1988 and rocket engine testing ceased in 2006.

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    A Comprehensive Cleanup

    worker doing cleanup

    The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory was a key proving ground for rocket engines that propelled Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle astronauts into orbit, as well as a test site for commercialized nuclear and alternative energy research. These past operations, which occupied approximately one-fifth of the sprawling 2,850-acre site, have left residual chemical contamination in soil and groundwater.

    Boeing and the other responsible parties, with oversight by regional and state environmental regulatory agencies, are conducting a thorough investigation in preparation for a comprehensive cleanup of the Santa Susana site. Over the years, numerous interim cleanup activities have addressed contamination in soil, groundwater and stormwater, furthering the progress toward restoration and preservation of this unique and valuable ecosystem.

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      A Bright Future, Today

      bobcat

      The restoration of the Santa Susana landscape is well underway, with native plants and animals reclaiming much of the 2,850 acres in less than a decade since the Field Laboratory closed. By the nature of the U.S. government work done there, the site was isolated from the growth and change of Southern California for more than half of a century. This allowed Santa Susana to remain one of the most intact and vast natural areas amidst the urbanization of this immensely populated area.

      Santa Susana continues to be a site of historic significance, with towering rocket engine test stands on NASA land and Native American artifacts throughout the property. Boeing’s cleanup will protect the site’s vast natural and cultural features, and the company plans to preserve Santa Susana as open space for the benefit of people and wildlife. Boeing works with a variety of educational and environmental organizations on research to promote new and innovative approaches to remediation and restoration, along with enhancing knowledge of the site’s ecology.

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        Site Tours

        Site tours

        Join the thousands of people who visit Santa Susana each year to watch red-tailed hawks soar and walk by towering rocket engine test stands that took human beings into the vast frontier of outer space. The site is a rare combination of natural beauty and historic significance for both Space Age endeavors and Native American culture.

        The California Department of Toxic Substances Control also maintains a calendar of upcoming events.

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          Frequently Asked Questions

          General

          Where is the former Santa Susana Field Lab?

          The 2,850-acre site straddles remote hills at the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties between Chatsworth and Simi Valley, about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

          What's special about the site?

          Santa Susana is located within a vital habitat linkage that connects the inland Sierra Madre Mountains to the Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific Coast. It has many culturally-significant sites related to historic use by Native Americans, and a portion of the site is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Santa Susana was the proving ground for rocket engines that launched America into space and helped win the Cold War. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics identifies it as a historic aerospace site. It is a unique part of the cultural, environmental and technological fabric of California and the United States.

          What was the site used for?

          The site was historically used to test rocket engines for NASA and the military, and to perform non-military energy research at Department Of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC), including leading-edge nuclear, solar and energy-efficiency technology development.

          Who owns it?

          Santa Susana's 2,850 acres are divided into four administrative areas. Boeing acquired 2,398 acres in 1996 when it purchased Rockwell's aerospace and defense unit. The Department of Energy leases 90 acres of Boeing's land in Area IV, and the U.S. government owns 452 acres in Areas I and II, which are administered by NASA.

          What does it look like today?

          Santa Susana is a vast hilltop natural area dominated by sandstone cliffs featuring oak woodlands, scrub and meadows, with valley and mountain vistas. Plant and animal species thrive at Santa Susana, including deer, bobcats, coyotes, cougars and raptors. A few decommissioned rocket engine test stands and other buildings still dot the landscape. Nearly 90% of historical buildings have been removed as operational activity at the ETEC was phased out in 1988 and rocket engine testing ended in 2006. As cleanup progresses, environmental and community groups and universities increasingly use the land for environmental research, restoration and recreation. Boeing, NASA and the DOE host frequent bus tours and guided hikes to share the site's historical significance and cleanup progress.

          Is the site suitable for an open-space park?

          Yes. Santa Susana – with its sandstone cliffs, oak woodlands, meadows, hills and streams – provides a rare and vital habitat and a crucial wildlife corridor in Southern California. As open space, it will be used by birders, rock climbers, day hikers and picnickers. The site has a unique history of Native American use and aerospace technological achievements. There is substantial precedent for preserving Santa Susana as open space, based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) estimate that about one in four contaminated sites nationwide are converted to ball fields, picnic sites, open space and hiking trails.

          To advance this goal, Boeing has and will continue to partner with established organizations that share its open space vision. In addition, leading universities are engaged in environmental research at Santa Susana. The National Park Service is also studying the possibility of including the site in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area as part of its Rim of the Valley study.

           

          Boeing Cleanup

          Where did the contamination come from?

          After World War II, space exploration and protecting the United States during the Cold War were national priorities. Santa Susana was at the center of these efforts. As a result of high-technology testing and research, chemicals were used and often disposed of on-site, seeping into the soil and groundwater.

          What's being done to clean it up?

          NASA, DOE, and Boeing are actively cleaning up contamination at Santa Susana. Boeing has conducted extensive investigations and is conducting interim cleanup measures while building the scientific basis for comprehensive cleanup pending final regulatory approval. Sitewide, Boeing has removed or treated enough soil to fill about 5,000 dump trucks; tested 50,000 samples of soil, groundwater and bedrock; drilled 400 test and extraction wells; and dismantled 400 structures. In addition, Boeing has:

          • Installed a state-of-the-art groundwater treatment system;
          • Built stormwater containment and filtration systems designed in consultation with a panel of stormwater experts to meet water quality standards that in many cases are stricter than drinking water standards (although there is no human water consumption); and
          • Replanted 900 acres with native plants.

          What is the timeline for cleanup?

          In 2007, Boeing, NASA and the DOE signed a comprehensive cleanup agreement (“2007 consent order”) with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Boeing has committed to a cleanup that is 10 times more protective than cleanup required for its future use as open space. Boeing continues to meet all of its obligations to implement the 2007 consent order. The DTSC is in the process of reviewing the investigative data and preparing its Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the draft of which it currently estimates will be released in 2016. Here are key steps in the process:

          • Completing field investigation and risk assessment reports
          • Drafting the cleanup plan
          • Developing a sitewide environmental impact report
          • Approval of the cleanup plan by DTSC, including public input
          • Starting soil cleanup and long-term groundwater cleanup and monitoring
          • Completing soil cleanup

          What happens after cleanup?

          Boeing plans to preserve and legally restrict its land as undeveloped open space. The site is ideally suited for open space and wildlife habitat.

          Will the cleanup be enough?

          Yes. Boeing's cleanup will be fully protective of human health while also protecting natural features and ecosystems, and expanding access to the site for community, academic and environmental groups. Cal-EPA experts, in court testimony under oath, stated that the 2007 consent order requirements are protective of human health and the environment. Boeing is in compliance with the consent order and is committed to a comprehensive and highly protective cleanup.

          Why does Boeing specifically exclude homegrown produce from its risk assessment? Does this mean that existing gardens at neighboring homes aren't safe?

          A risk assessment is supposed to identify risks based on realistic forseeable land use. There are no vegetable gardens at Santa Susana, nor will there ever be vegetable gardens. Boeing will impose legally-enforceable land use restrictions to ensure people will not live on Boeing’s portion of Santa Susana nor ever grow vegetables or other crops there. The land will be preserved as undeveloped open space.

          Based on extensive data collected over decades, there are no levels of contaminants from Santa Susana that would pose a risk for off-site gardens or for residents using those gardens. In an April 2013 letter to the Mayor of Simi Valley, the DTSC stated, “To date we have not found evidence of off-site contamination from SSFL that would pose a risk to human health or the environment.”

          Will Boeing’s cleanup make it safe so people could live there?

          Although we correctly state that our cleanup will be stringent enough that people could safely live on the site, the fact is no one ever will. Boeing will impose legally-enforceable land use restrictions to ensure people will not live on, farm or develop Boeing’s portion of Santa Susana. There will never be homes built, nor gardens planted on Boeing’s portion of the site. We remain committed to preserving our 2,400 acres at Santa Susana as undeveloped open space, and cleaning up to a level that is 10 times more stringent than would be required for open space use. Our commitment ensures that the cleanup protects people while also protecting the unique and valuable ecosystem to benefit wildlife and the community.

          Boeing recently submitted a report to the DTSC that included an estimate for a lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 3. What does that mean?

          The reference is to a hypothetical risk prior to cleanup and is primarily attributable to naturally occurring arsenic. The hypothetical risk following cleanup at this location will be 1 in 1 million or less, a point clearly described in Boeing’s report. This calculation is just one among many that are considered in assessing the site and setting the ultimate cleanup level, and it is misleading to focus just on this calculation. The most important fact for the public to understand is that Boeing will perform a cleanup pursuant to the 2007 Consent Order that is about 10 times more protective of human health than would be required for the site’s actual future use as undeveloped open space.

          With regard to the risk calculation referenced above, there are two critical points that must be understood to properly interpret this calculation and comprehend what it means, and what it doesn’t mean. 

          Assumption #1: The calculation assumes that no cleanup will ever be done. Fact: Boeing will perform a cleanup pursuant to the 2007 Consent Order that is about 10 times more protective of human health than would be required for the site’s actual future use as undeveloped open space.

          Assumption #2: The calculation assumes  that a person will live on the site and consume produce from a backyard garden. Fact: No one will ever live on Boeing’s portion of Santa Susana. Boeing will restrict future land use at Santa Susana to prevent development for any commercial, industrial, agricultural or residential purpose to ensure the future land use is undeveloped open space and recreational use. Furthermore, Boeing has committed to cleaning up the site to a standard approximately 10 times more protective of human health than that applicable to open space uses. This standard is equivalent to the suburban residential standard that is generally applied in California by DTSC. It is worth noting that the suburban residential standard does not generally presume use of backyard gardens. Boeing has never committed to a cleanup that assumes the use of “backyard gardens” because there will never be such gardens on the site.

          Is Boeing trying to avoid cleaning up to the agricultural standards for which the Santa Susana Field Laboratory is zoned?

          No. As Boeing committed in 2007 and consistently reaffirms, we will preserve and restrict our portion of the Santa Susana site as undeveloped open space. Regardless of zoning, Boeing will impose a land use restriction to legally ensure people will not live on, develop or farm Boeing’s portion of the Santa Susana site.

          Even though Santa Susana will not be used for residential or agricultural purposes, and will be used solely for open space, we have agreed to clean up the our portion of the site to a level about 10 times more protective of human health than is required for the site’s future use as undeveloped open space. We recognize people are concerned, and we want the community to know that our cleanup more than meets health and safety protective goals.

          Is it true that, even after cleanup, there will still be a remaining cancer risk for 1 out of 5 people?

          No. First, the risk assessment refers to hypothetical risks that might exist prior to any cleanup being performed, and for residential land use that includes a backyard garden. Second, these risks are primarily attributable to naturally occurring arsenic and not related to past site operations. The risk posed by naturally occurring arsenic would not be required to be cleaned up at any site, even under a background-level cleanup standard. (Nor, of course, would open space users encounter this level of hypothetical risk.) If the contribution from naturally occurring arsenic is excluded, the hypothetical risk (excluding backyard gardens) following cleanup at this location would be one in one million or less, as documented in the reports.

           

          Radiation

          Does the site have dangerous levels of radioactivity?

          No. The U.S. EPA recently completed a $42 million exhaustive radiological characterization survey of Area IV, the parcel of land where DOE operations took place and that is being cleaned up by DOE. The survey found that low levels of residual contamination from past civilian nuclear energy research affects approximately 40 acres of the 290 acres in Area IV. EPA’s measurements show that most of the radiation levels are lower than naturally occurring levels measured in nearby off-site locations. To read the EPA's study, visit EPA Radiological Characterization Study Results.

          Did the EPA find extensive contamination, including over 400 radiation "hot spots" in Area IV?

          The U.S. EPA conducted an exhaustive radiological characterization survey of Area IV between 2009 and 2012. The EPA described the survey as, “one of the most robust technical investigations ever undertaken for low-level radioactive contamination.” The results of the survey will help guide remediation efforts in Area IV.

          According to the EPA:

          • “In general, EPA found elevated radiation levels in the areas where we expected to find them, isolated to a number of former process or disposal areas.”
          • “Level of radiation throughout most of the Area IV study area was lower than the offsite background locations.”
          • “This survey resulted in the discovery of several areas of elevated radiation levels, but none posed a health risk to personnel.”

          As part of the survey, the EPA took 3,735 soil samples and conducted over 128,000 separate analyses. In summary, the radiation levels found were limited and localized to certain former process and disposal areas. These results are in line with what would be expected for a facility of this type, which operated for many decades:

          • Only 423 (11%) samples exceed the EPA background levels for man-made radionuclides
          • Only 12 (0.3%) samples exceed the EPA acceptable risk range for conservative residential land use
          • Only 8 (0.2%) samples exceed the former cleanup standard for conservative residential land use
          • No (0%) samples exceed the EPA acceptable risk range for open space land use

          EPA Radiological Characterization Study Results fact sheet

          People are concerned that radiation has moved off-site to the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Santa Susana Knolls, Moorpark and beyond. How can you be certain this isn't the case?

          The Brandeis-Bardin Institute (now part of the American Jewish University) is located just north of the Santa Susana site. A two-year comprehensive sampling program for chemicals and radionuclides on this property was conducted under the oversight of U.S. EPA from 1992 to 1994. While low levels of radionuclides were detected solely in areas that are now part of Santa Susana, the EPA concluded that even these levels were below the level of potential health concern, stating: “EPA has determined that the radionuclides do not pose a threat to human health or the environment.”

          Regarding Susana Knolls and Moorpark, a 2007 study that compiled existing off-site data found no evidence of radiological contamination in Susana Knolls or Moorpark. In an April 2013 letter to the Mayor of Simi Valley, the DTSC stated, “To date we have not found evidence of off-site contamination from SSFL that would pose a risk to human health or the environment.”

          Have prior health studies concluded that there are higher cancer rates in the San Fernando and Simi Valleys caused by radiation from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

          No. Since 1990, numerous studies conducted by government agencies, university researchers and others have examined cancer rates in the communities surrounding Santa Susana. It is not unusual for multiple studies to be conducted and come to different conclusions, which is why one must look at all of them. Taken together, the studies do not support a link between incidences of cancer and past operations at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL).

          The two most recent studies were performed by Professor Lewis Morgenstern of the University of Michigan and Professor Thomas Mack of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

          A 2007 study by Professor Morgenstern concluded, “The results from this study suggest little or no association between residential distance from SSFL and the incidence of all cancers or the group of (radio-sensitive) malignancies thought to be affected by ionizing radiation. There was, however, a weak positive association during both follow-up periods between distance from SSFL and the group of (chemo-sensitive) malignancies thought to be affected by exposure to chemicals used at Rocketdyne.” The study further concluded, “Furthermore, we have no direct evidence that the associations we observed, even if they reflect real differences among the three regions, necessarily reflect the effects of environmental exposures originating at SSFL.”

          A 2014 study by Professor Mack concluded, “No evidence of measurable offsite cancer causation occurring as a result of emissions from the SSFL was found. Further, no evidence of any cancer causation by any environmental factor was found.” Dr. Mack presented his findings at a DTSC public meeting in April 2014.

          An overview of epidemiological and community health studies can be found here.

          Is it true that 300 times permissible concentrations were released during the Sodium Reactor Experiment accident?

          This is not true. Many people have made various statements about the 1959 Sodium Reactor Experiment incident using assumptions that are not supported by facts and data.

          What we do know is the incident occurred at a time when the area around the Santa Susana Field Laboratory was still sparsely populated. Records were kept of the levels that were released and used to calculate potential exposure dose. The total radiation doses for the two month period following the SRE accident were 0.099 millirem for a hypothetical person at the Santa Susana site boundary, and 0.018 millirem for a hypothetical person at the location of the nearest resident in 1959 (1.33 miles away). These doses are a fraction of the permissible exposure level in 1959, and today’s more restrictive federal limits, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy exposure limits for nuclear facilities (100 millirem/year) and the U.S. EPA limit for airborne emissions (10 millirem/year).

          Nuclear operations at Santa Susana ended decades ago. The SRE accident has been the subject of extensive study and commentary. Here is some additional information about the incident:

          Energy Technology Engineering Center website
          Department of Energy SRE Workshop
          Annual Site Environmental Reports, 1955-present

          Were there any "secret releases of radiation" at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

          No. Radiation releases were monitored, measured and documented in compliance with federal regulations. The Santa Susana Field Laboratory continually monitored the site for potential releases and reported the results of its monitoring. The results of this sampling were documented in annual monitoring reports.

          Copies of annual site environmental reports for Area IV of Santa Susana Field Laboratory from 1955 through 2014 are available on the Energy Technology Engineering Center website.

          Were barrels of radioactive waste disposed at the burn pits in Area IV?

          Barrels of sodium and other chemicals were disposed of in the Area IV Burn Pit during the 1950s, 60s and 70s in compliance with existing regulations at the time. Subsequent site investigations showed that the Area IV Burn Pit did become radiologically contaminated. It was remediated during the 1990s and released for unrestricted use (i.e. declared clean) in 1998 by the California Department of Health Services (now Department of Public Health).

           

          Community Health & Safety

          Is Santa Susana safe?

          Yes. Numerous health studies have determined the site does not pose a risk to workers or the community. All aerospace and energy operations have ceased, and the site is safe to visit. Access is controlled, and visitors are briefed on safety, environmental contamination and natural hazards. Contaminated areas are limited in extent, and chemical and radiological concentrations are not hazardous to visitors.

          Is the community surrounding Santa Susana safe?

          Yes.  Limited  chemical contamination exists in some subsurface off-site groundwater northeast of the site entrance, but it is more than 100 feet deep and does not pose a risk to the community because people are not exposed to it. Based on all of the data collected under the direction of state and federal agencies, along with numerous independent health studies, the data shows no exposure for offsite residents now, or following cleanup, that would increase an individual’s cancer risk. Furthermore, in an April 2013 letter to the Mayor of Simi Valley, the DTSC stated, “To date we have not found evidence of off-site contamination from SSFL that would pose a risk to human health or the environment.”

          How will you keep contamination from running offsite from Santa Susana in stormwater, particularly in winter with affects from El Nino?

          We have state-of-the-art stormwater controls in place and have taken a number of cleanup and treatment actions over the last 10 years to prevent contamination from leaving the site. Boeing operates multiple stormwater runoff controls, including treatment systems that use processes similar to those used by city and county municipalities to make clean drinking water. We also continue to work with an independent panel of internationally recognized experts who provide recommendations on how best to meet permit compliance objectives.

          Boeing also monitors stormwater during rain events. We have performed thousands of tests on the stormwater that leaves Santa Susana to ensure we continue to safeguard the public. Boeing has a stormwater permit, overseen by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which sets very strict discharge limits, many below drinking water standards, to protect human health and water quality.

          Boeing has had many permit violations over the years. Do permit exceedances cause health impacts?

          No. Based on the data collected over the years, nothing leaves the site in stormwater runoff that poses a threat to public health.

          The goal of the stormwater permit is to ensure that surface water is protected. We monitor for hundreds of constituents, including oil, pH, chemicals, metals and radionuclides. It’s important to recognize that the stormwater runoff from the site is not used as a drinking water source (although many of the permit limits are at or below drinking water levels). There have been some exceedances of permit limits at the site, but most were still within limits for drinking water. Most importantly, none of the exceedences poses a risk to human health or the environment.

          Again, it is important to recognize that stormwater runoff from the site is not used as a drinking water source. Boeing has a number of controls in place to manage stormwater runoff from the site, including treatment systems that use processes similar to those used by city and county municipalities to make clean drinking water. We also continue to work with an independent committee of internationally recognized experts who provide recommendations on how best to meet permit compliance objectives.

          Additional information about Boeing’s stormwater management program can be found here.

          What are the past testing results in Dayton and Runkle Canyons? Does the testing show there are possible health impacts related to Santa Susana Field Laboratory operations at these properties?

          No. In response to concerns raised by the public, the DTSC has thoroughly investigated these areas and has concluded that both Dayton Canyon and Runkle Canyon were safe for development. This conclusion was based on the DTSC’s review of onsite and offsite data (groundwater, surface water, seeps/spring, soil and sediment results). Additional environmental data collected to-date continues to demonstrate both developments are safe.

          The DTSC distributed a letter and news release about the findings of their Dayton Canyon investigation.

          One sampling event performed at Runkle Canyon in February 1999 suggested elevated levels of strontium-90. However, that indication was never replicated, despite numerous subsequent sampling by the DTSC and others, which failed to confirm this initial detection. In fact, the additional sampling failed to detect any presence of strontium-90. The DTSC letter that summarizes these findings can be found here.

          Is the municipal drinking water served to Simi Valley residents contaminated with chemicals and radiological isotopes from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

          No. We have an extensive groundwater monitoring network that covers seeps, springs and on- and off-site wells and confirms the contaminated groundwater from Santa Susana does not extend into Simi Valley.

          If you have other questions regarding municipal water quality, contact the city of Simi Valley and the Golden State Water Company or visit their website for details of their water distribution network and drinking water testing program.

           

          Health Studies

          What were the results of the state study on Santa Susana Field Laboratory workers? Is it true that the studies found higher cancer rates?

          There have been two worker health studies at Santa Susana. A 1997-1999 study of Rocketdyne workers conducted by UCLA was extensively reviewed by a number of experts who questioned the study’s methodology. As a result, Boeing and the United Aerospace Workers Union (UAW) sponsored a second worker health study that was conducted by the International Epidemiology Institute and overseen by an independent Science Committee comprised of nationally renowned public health and epidemiological experts.

          This study, which was completed in 2005 and updated in 2011, was peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Radiation Research. It stated, “The extended follow-up reinforces the findings in the previous study in failing to observe a detectable increase in cancer deaths associated with radiation, but strong conclusions still cannot be drawn because of small numbers and relatively low career doses.” The Science Committee likewise concluded that, “The Rocketdyne workforce had a much lower overall mortality than the rate observed in the California population. There is no evidence that working conditions caused increased mortality in the Rocketdyne workforce.”

          International Epidemiology Institute Worker Health Study Executive Summary
          Information about UCLA Worker Health Study

          Did a UCLA study find evidence of significant offsite exposures to hazardous chemicals and radioactivity from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory?

          No. The authors of the UCLA study did not conduct any soil, air or other environmental testing that would provide information about conditions that exist today, either on or offsite. The study is primarily a review of limited, historical information. In addition, the study was not subject to peer review and several experts have questioned it's methodology.

          Comments from Boeing and other experts on the UCLA study can be found here.

          One study that did involve actual sampling was the onsite radiological characterization survey of Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory that the U.S. EPA conducted between 2009 and 2012. The EPA described the survey as, "one of the most robust technical investigations ever undertaken for low-level radioactive contamination." In summary, the radiation levels found onsite were limited and localized to certain former process and disposal areas. These results are in line with what would be expected for a facility of this type, which operated for many decades.

          Final EPA Radiological Characterization Reports

          Dr. Morgenstern says his study found that cancer rates in the community are 60% higher within two miles of the site than farther away. What is your response?

          Dr. Morgenstern’s report states: “There is little or no association, for total cancers and radiosensitive cancers among adults.” For the few cancers for which higher rates were reported, the report concludes that “There is no direct evidence from this investigation, however, that these observed associations reflect the effects of environmental exposures originating at SSFL.”

          And in his April 2014 study of area cancer rates, Dr. Thomas Mack of USC Keck School of Medicine concluded: “no evidence of measurable offsite cancer causation occurring as a result of emissions from Santa Susana.”

          If there is no health impact, why did Rocketdyne/Boeing settle prior lawsuits?

          Settlements of this nature are common and occur for a number of reasons unrelated to the merits of the claims being asserted. It is important to note that the overriding conclusion of numerous health studies is that people living near Santa Susana are not at increased risk for developing cancers as a result of past operations.

          Stormwater Technical Library

          Stormwater at Santa Susana is regulated under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Under the current permit, several outfall locations require routine monitoring for various constituents. Boeing provides this library of technical documents about the site-wide stormwater management program as a public service on behalf of the Regional Board.

          Human Health Risk Assessment for Surface Water Runoff
          Revised Human Health Assessment Work Plan
          L.A. Regional Board letter re: HHRA comment period

           

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          Permits
          Monitoring Reports
          Interim Source Removal Action (ISRA)
          Technical Reports