2016 was another active year for NASA at SSFL. The 2016 Year in Review summarizes the year’s progress toward cleaning of its portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in the areas of demolition, soil and groundwater investigations, stormwater management, and community outreach. We look forward to another busy year as the regulatory process progresses and we move closer to a final cleanup.
NASA welcomes Dr. Keith Thomsen as NASA’s Remedial Project Manager for the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). He will join Peter Zorba, NASA SSFL Project Director in the continuing characterization and cleanup efforts in NASA-administered areas at SSFL.
Dr. Thomsen is an Environmental Engineer with 30 years of international experience in environmental engineering, renewable energy and sustainability. He holds a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from Oregon State University, a Masters of Business Administration from California State University Fresno, and a doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA.
Prior to his NASA appointment, Dr. Thomsen served as the Assistant Director of Washington State University Tri-Cities where he was a key member of the leadership team responsible for starting and developing the Bioproducts Science and Engineering Laboratory, a world-class applied research and development laboratory focused on renewable energy, environmental science and engineering, sustainability, emerging technologies and climate change.
As Remedial Project Manager for NASA at SSFL, Dr. Thomsen will be responsible for developing soil and groundwater cleanup plans, and ensuring various aspects of onsite environmental compliance, including air monitoring, stormwater and hazardous waste management.
"I'm looking forward to using my experience and education to help the NASA team continue to develop and implement cost-effective and technically sound remedies for Santa Susana that meet NASA’s goal of a cleanup that is protective of public health and the environment," said Thomsen.
NASA continues to make headway with demolition of obsolete buildings and infrastructure to prepare the site for final cleanup. FieldNOTE newsletter
NASA kicked off Phase 2 of demolition in the Skyline Area to remove obsolete water tanks and pipeline. The photos below show the progress made with demolition of the Skyline water tanks and the pipeline leading from the water tanks to the Coca Test Area.
The photos below show the growth of vegetation in former location of Building 2204. Following demolition, a hydroseed mulch containing a seed mixture of native plants was applied. The hydroseed mix promotes revegetation, aiding in the process of restoring the natural habitat.
The newest edition of the FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides an overview of NASA’s progress with groundwater characterization, profiles the new SSFL Project Director, and describes NASA’s preparations for wildfire season.
Allen Elliott retires from NASA this week, capping nearly 25 years of service with the agency on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) environmental cleanup and closure. Highly respected and admired by program regulators, the responsible parties and the community, Elliott leaves an extraordinary legacy at SSFL that will lead the way forward as NASA continues cleanup activities at the site.
Peter Zorba, onsite project manager since 2011, will assume the duties of project director as Elliott retires.
Notable achievements under Elliott’s leadership include an Interim Soil Remediation Action (ISRA) cleanup that removed approximately 12,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from NASA-administered areas, completion of the RCRA soils investigation, the NASA EIS and Section 106 Process, completion of a robust series of remedial technology treatability studies, and significant progress of demolition activities in NASA-administered areas at SSFL.
Elliott has also been a strong advocate for the protection of the Native American cultural resources on the site. Under his vision and leadership, the Sacred Sites Council, a body of tribal members from various tribes affiliated with the SSFL site, was created to increase communication and address tribal concerns regarding the protection of the sacred sites throughout the cleanup process.
“Allen’s leadership will be greatly missed,” said Peter Zorba. “Over the past five years he has been my great friend and mentor. He is leaving big shoes to fill and I will do my best to carry his vision forward with a cleanup that honors NASA’s broader legacy.”
This FieldNOTE newsletter (PDF) provides an update on demolition activities, including the launch of Phase 2 as NASA continues to make progress preparing the site for final cleanup.
As part of the demolition mitigation measures outlined in the 2014 Programmatic Agreement, and in an effort to preserve the history of rocket engine testing at SSFL, NASA conducted oral history interviews with former SSFL personnel regarding their experiences with engine testing activities. Transcripts of these interviews are now available and can be found on the Oral History Archive on this website.
The 2015 Year in Review summarizes progress NASA made over the past year toward cleanup of its portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). NASA maintains its commitment to keeping the community and interested stakeholders updated as we begin another active year of cleanup in 2016.