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Year-in-Review highlights NASA’s progress at SSFL

Published: 2/21/2017

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 new Project Manager for the Santa Susana Field Lab

Published: 2/7/2017 Keith Thomsen Keith Thomsen, SSFL Remedial Project Manager

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.

SSFL FieldNOTE – December 2016

Published: 12/19/2016

NASA continues to make headway with demolition of obsolete buildings and infrastructure to prepare the site for final cleanup. FieldNOTE newsletter

NASA continues with demolition work in the Skyline Area

Published: 8/6/2016

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.

Skyline Tanks
This photo shows the Skyline area in March 2016, just before demolition work began. Ten water tanks can be seen on the top of a hill in the distance.
March 2016
This photo shows the Skyline area in July 2016, after significant progress with demolition work. Just two water tanks can be seen on the top of a hill in the distance.
June 2016
Skyline Coca Pipeline
This photo shows a large water pipeline extending from the Skyline area on the top of a hill, down to the Coca Test Area in March 2016, before demolition work began.
March 2016
This photos shows the hillside leading from Skyline area down to the Coca Test Area. This was taken in Juy 2016 after the pipeline had been removed as part of NASA demolition activities.
June 2016

Landscape Restoration Continues in the Service Area

Published: 8/5/2016

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.

Building 2204 Area Hydroseeding
This photo shows a wide shot of the Building 204 area in March 2016 soon after a hydroseed mulch was applied.
March 2016
This June 2016 photo shows significant growth of vegetation where hydroseed was applied in the Building 204 demolition area.
June 2016
Building 2204 Area Hydroseeding Closeup
This photo shows a closer view of the Building 204 area in March 2016, with little vegetation growth.
March 2016
This photo shows a closer view of the Building 204 area in June 2016 where significant vegetation can be seen in the area where hydroseed mulch was applied.
June 2016

SSFL FieldNOTE – July 2016

Published: 7/25/2016

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.

NASA Announces Retirement of Project Director Allen Elliott

Published: 5/4/2016

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.”

SSFL FieldNOTE – April 2016

Published: 4/15/2016

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.

NASA Releases SSFL Oral History Archive

Published: 3/31/2016

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.

NASA Releases 2015 Year in Review

Published: 1/26/2016

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.

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