Santa Susana Field Laboratory to Undergo Cleanup by The Boeing Company

May 12, 2022

The cost of the cleanup is expected to be in the millions

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced a comprehensive framework for the cleanup of contaminated soil, groundwater, and storm water runoff at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in southeastern Ventura County.

The framework includes protocols and timelines for The Boeing Company to follow in order to fix the contamination issues.

According to CalEPA, from 1947 to 2006, “Boeing and its predecessors, along with NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy, conducted research, development, assembly and testing of rocket engines, small-scale nuclear reactors, and chemical lasers at the site. Though all industrial activity at the site ended in 2006, radionuclides and other contamination remain.”

The framework involved two agencies within CalEPA: the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Los Angeles Water Board).

According to CalEPA, the framework requires that: 

  • Boeing will clean up radionuclides in soil in its areas of responsibility to “background,” i.e., levels that would exist locally without industrial activity;
  • Boeing will clean up chemical contamination in its areas of responsibility to a health protective cleanup standard that could be as stringent as a “Resident with Garden” standard that has long been advocated for by members of the surrounding community; and
  • Following the cleanup, storm water runoff from the Boeing areas will not be polluted. 

“Santa Susana Field Lab is one of our nation’s most high-profile and contentious toxic cleanup sites. For decades, there have been too many disputes and not enough cleanup. Today’s settlement prioritizes human health and the environment and holds Boeing to account for its cleanup,” said Governor Gavin Newsom, reported CalEPA.

The cost of the cleanup is expected to be in the millions, added CalEPA. 

The framework comes after a 15-month legal mediation, of which the goals are:

  1. To resolve disputes over Boeing’s remediation obligations for the soil and groundwater cleanup;
  2. To develop a process to achieve comprehensive cleanup by Boeing in its areas of responsibility at the site; and
  3. To limit further delays and costs that could result from litigation.

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Cristina Tuser