NASA has issued a Record of Decision for NASA Soil Cleanup Activities at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. NASA’s decision is to proceed with a Suburban Residential Cleanup, as described in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. A Suburban Residential Cleanup would be protective of public health and the environment, follow nationwide EPA guidelines, and is consistent with the cleanup standards imposed by the DTSC across the State of California.
NASA is eager to move ahead with soil cleanup. NASA can finalize a soil implementation cleanup plan once the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) completes their Programmatic Environmental Impact Report and issues a decision document.
After NASA signed the 2010 AOC, DTSC developed soil Look-up Table (LUT) values at SSFL for 130 chemicals. The LUT values are based on either assessed naturally occurring threshold values derived from DTSC’s background study or the method reporting limit (MRL) for chemicals without a background threshold value. The MRL is the minimum level that an analytical instrument can report and provide a reliable result. These values are developed based on the capabilities of laboratory equipment; they are not based on known risks to human health and the environment.
A Suburban Residential cleanup would clean the soil to meet standard Suburban Residential risk-based cleanup goals, developed using nationwide Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines and the DTSC approved risk-based methodology specific to SSFL. Cleanup goals would be protective of a Suburban Residential exposure scenario, which assumes that both adults and children would be exposed to soil 24 hours per day, 350 days per year, for a total of 26 years.
An AOC cleanup would require the excavation and removal of up with 870,000 cubic yards of soil and would take 25 years to complete, whereas a Suburban Residential cleanup would require the removal 247,000 cubic yards of soil and take only eight years to complete.
Due the massive amount of soil requiring removal, and the lack of backfill that both meets AOC standards and is capable of restoring or sustaining the native plant life, an AOC cleanup would result in the devastation of plant life and geology in the region and alter water resources in unforeseeable ways.
As a Federal Agency, NASA is required to follow the NEPA process and conduct an environmental review of impacts of a proposed action, in this case, soil cleanup, and NASA continues to adhere to NEPA requirements with this SEIS process. DTSC has their own State-mandated environmental review process. NASA is committed to conducting a cleanup at SSFL that is based in science, technically achievable, and is fully protective of the surrounding community and the natural environment. NASA looks forward to working with DTSC on our shared goal of beginning a safe and swift soil cleanup of the SSFL.
There is no nuclear contamination at all on any of the NASA property. NASA has extensively reviewed historical documents and NASA never conducted nuclear research or used radioactive materials at SSFL. Prior to demolition, NASA conducted extensive radiological screening and found no manmade radiological contamination on any of the structures slated for demolition. The U.S. EPA’s 2012 radiological survey supported our data: they found no radiological contamination extended into NASA areas.