NASA Insignia Santa Susana Field Laboratory
Environmental Cleanup and Closure
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Environmental Cleanup

Cleanup Administered by NASA

NASA is actively engaged in ongoing cleanup activities at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). We take full responsibility for cleanup of chemicals in Area II and the Area I parcel including those released prior to NASA’s acquisition of the land. Extensive site investigations indicate that chemicals from rocket testing and engine cleaning made their way into several "media" (soil, soil vapor, surface water, bedrock and groundwater). Some of the chemicals on NASA-adminstered property include solvents, petroleum products polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and metals. NASA continues to make progress investigating and cleaning up Area II and its Area I parcel. NASA also is working cooperatively with the Boeing Company and the Department of Energy (DOE) as they conduct cleanup in Areas they own as part of the overall SSFL-wide cleanup program.

Regulatory Overview

The SSFL cleanup program is led by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Site cleanup activities at SSFL began under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action program, which is used at sites that hold a RCRA permit for on-site treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste. The RCRA corrective action process involves the following steps:

  1. RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA) – An RFA is performed at a facility to evaluate the existence of any continuous or non-continuous releases of wastes
  2. RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) – A thorough evaluation and assessment of the nature, rate, and extent of the hazardous waste releases and hazardous constituents at a facility where the RFA reveals potential concerns

    The previously submitted RFI reports for Groups 2, 3, 4, and 9 (which include the NASA sites at SSFL) can be found in the RFI - Soils section of the DTSC Document Library External site icon

  3. Corrective Measures Study (CMS) – A study that develops and evaluates methods for addressing hazardous waste releases identified in the RFI
  4. Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI) – A plan that includes engineering design, construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of the corrective measures found in the CMS


California State Senate Bill SB 990 was codified as California Health and Safety Code Section 25359.20, effective January 1, 2008. As a result of this new direction from the State legislature, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is transitioning their oversight of the SSFL cleanup from the State's RCRA Program to the California State CERCLA Program. A new Consent Order is being negotiated to finalize this transition. Cleanup at the SSFL will continue to be overseen by the DTSC and will meet strict federal and state cleanup standards. NASA is committed to cleaning up Area II and its Area I parcel to a level that is protective of public health and the environment and that meets regulatory processes and requirements.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images are provided by NASA.

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