In the mid 1950s, Atomics International, then a Division of North American Aviation, began initial plans for nuclear research at its facilities in the west San Fernando Valley what today is the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). In 1956, prior to initial operations, it began an ambitious monitoring program to baseline, and then to track, potential changes in environmental levels of radioactivity in and around its facilities.
During the 50 plus year history of nuclear research and later environmental restoration, on-site and off-site environmental monitoring and media sampling has been extensive as shown on this sampling map. In the early years, soil and vegetation sampling was conducted on a monthly basis as far west as the Moorpark freeway, as far north as the Simi Valley freeway, as far east as Reseda, and as far south as the Ventura freeway. Soil, vegetation, and water samples were also taken around the Canoga and De Soto facilities, and around the Chatsworth Reservoir. This extensive off-site sampling program was terminated in 1989 when all nuclear research and operations except cleanup came to an end.
During the 1990s, extensive media sampling programs were conducted on the northern neighbors, including the Brandies-Bardin Institute and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the neighbors to the south, the Boeing Recreation Center in West Hills, various private homes in the Chatsworth and West Hills areas, and places further away such as Wildwood Park and Tapia Park.
The following links provide detailed information about the studies conducted in the surrounding areas.
- Ahmanson Ranch
- Bell Canyon
- Brandeis-Bardin and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Chatsworth Reservoir
- Dayton Canyon
- Rocketdyne Recreational Center
- Runkle Canyon
Boeing has not been alone in conducting this off site sampling. Independent sampling has been performed by eighteen different organizations. They were:
- Allwest Remediation for Dayton Canyon
- Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
- California Department of Health Services Environmental Management Branch (DHS/EMB)
- California Department of Health Services Radiologic Health Branch (DHS/RHB)
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (EPA/ORIA)
- Essentia Management Services for L.A. Department of Water and Power
- Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation for Runkle Canyon
- Groundwater Resources Corporation (GRC). Later became Haley & Aldrich
- Joel Cehn as a consultant to the Brandies-Bardin Institute
- Kleinfelder Corporation for Ahmanson Ranch Development
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for the Rocketdyne Recreation Center
- McLaren - Hart Environmental Engineering Corporation for the Brandeis-Bardin and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Miller Brooks Environmental Incorporated for Runkle Canyon
- Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)
- Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE ) for radiological release verification sampling
- Ogden Environmental and Energy Services for Bell Canyon
- QST Environmental Incorporate for Runkle Canyon
- Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB)
Click here for a table of what was sampled by these organizations.
Noise and Traffic
DOE will be conducting a noise and traffic study in the near future. This study is just another step in DOE's on-going efforts to investigate, characterize, and move to cleanup for Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone at the Santa Susana Field Lab. As we make progress towards cleanup, and in preparation for the necessary environmental reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this study is necessary to understand traffic and noise in the surrounding communities and to plan for cleanup. To learn more about the noise and traffic study click here to see the fact sheet and here to see the plan.
Offsite Data Evaluation Report
In December 2007, Boeing issued an Offsite Data Evaluation Report, compiling the results of prior environmental sampling programs. Offsite data have been compiled from 18 field sampling and analysis programs. The report summarizes and evaluates the results of offsite media sampling and testing data for chemical and radiological contaminants collected by Boeing, NASA and DOE within a 15-mile radius around the Santa Susana Field Laboratory over a nearly 60 year time period.
This was a milestone of the Consent Order for Corrective Action.
- Offsite Data Evaluation Report, Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Ventura County, California. December 14, 2007
- Appendices A through D
- Appendix A - Searchable Offsite Program Document Database
- Appendix B - Offsite Sampling Results
- Part 1: Offsite Analytical Database
- Part 2: Offsite Analytical Results (Figures)
- Appendix C - Environmental Screening Level Basis
- Appendix D - Supplementary Grounwater Information
Annual Site Environmental Reports
Radiological environmental monitoring has been conducted at SSFL since the mid 1950s. The Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) operations at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) describes:
- Environmental management performance for DOE activities such as environmental monitoring of effluents and estimated radiological doses to the public from of radioactive materials
- Environmental occurrences and responses reported during the calendar year
- Compliance with environmental standards and requirements
- Significant programs and efforts related to environmental management.
Click here for all historical ASERs from 1955 to present.
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (Radionuclides) - NESHAPs
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) Reports for the Department of Energy's (DOE) facilities at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) are provided here for 1991 to present.
- 2014 NESHAPs Report for DOE Operations in Area IV, SSFL March 2, 2015