The contaminants found in the northern drainage cleanup include PAH’s, benzopyrene, lead, asbestos, as well as other potential contaminants used at the Santa Susana Field Lab.
Why did Barbara Lee, the director for the agency appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, agree to write a letter to make these statements which clearly cannot be supported by historical facts of the site?
Why is the top priority for the Community Advisory Group, to defend the neighboring camp? That’s an important question. The DTSC created group is having a meeting tonight at Hidden Lake Club House to discuss the newly released EIR Environmental Impact Report released by the agency. Their meeting was just changed to Tuesday, giving the public less than one day notice to attend. It appears more and more that the group is another effort by the agency to deflect from the facts and keep the public misinformed about these risks.
Possibly, it is easier to say that the cleanup isn’t happening if you have letters stating that the surrounding areas are clean. On what basis can they say that when none of the community in West Hills has been sampled for Santa Susana Field Lab chemical or radiological constituents. Not once, so how can they make this claim?
When it comes to Brandeis, we see their horses on the SSFL site, and it’s no accident that they know their way up to the site (very steep and limited hiking trails to accomplish this). The kids probably go up there too since Boeing and NASA have both reported that kids have been seen trespassing.
Because of the discovery, and more importantly, because of chronic water quality violations where Boeing had been responsible for stormwater violations that occurred in outfalls 8 and 9, and outfall 9 leads to Brandeis. Outfall 8 leads to Dayton Canyon which is a new Pulte home development at the corner of Roscoe and Valley Circle. As a result of this problem, the regional board mandated that Boeing assemble a “stormwater expert panel” who was supposed to work and find solutions that didn’t include what Boeing framed as an impossible 70 foot tall dam. “Today, when we think of hazardous waste sites under water in Texas, perhaps we need to think about these solutions differently,” said one regulatory representative familiar with the project.Today, both outfalls are much safer than before due to the improvements completed, but that doesn't erase the source at the top of the hill.
Parents have been concerned after the NBC iTeam’s Joel Grover came out with an in-depth piece about the site that included “Camp Coverup” and it appears that instead of putting pressure on the Boeing Company to look into this possibility after 60 years of operational activities having additional impacts beyond previously known, strong denial efforts began to unfold, attacking local activists who bring light to the problem.
Concerns were ignored and dismissed when it came to KB Homes Runkle Canyon project putting another 455 families thought to be a little too close for comfort by many, especially when it rains. Brandeis requested a letter from DTSC to state that the camp was clean and safe for campers and visitors. DTSC did more than that. “They did a letter, a summary and a summary of the summary” said Alec Uzemeck of the West Hills Neighborhood Council (WHNC) who has been seeking a letter from DTSC to state that West Hills is also “clean and safe.” What’s wrong with asking for a letter as well? Many cleanup advocates worry that providing letters to certify the surrounding areas as “clean” is a way to undermine the cleanup which Boeing agreed to in 2007, but still hasn’t began. In a recent statement, the aerospace giant announced that they would instead be seeking a “strategic” cleanup of 46,000 yards compared to the several hundred thousand cubic yards acknowledged as contaminated soil.
What will happen now? Probably nothing. That’s how the last decade of promises have gone.
In going to these meetings for years, the excuse is always, “well no one is drinking this water” but here we see that they are potentially putting children IN the water. Considering the affects of lead on children, this is astonishing.
Denial is strong around here, but that doesn’t protect these kids. It just doesn’t look like Boeing is taking safety very seriously.
If you want to read the EIR, you have a two page summary, or 1100 pages to look at, so the process, just like the reports and statements made by the regulator, are designed to be missed.
These are the documents to read: http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/community_involvement_documents.asp?global_id=80001239&document_folder=+7052158951
The Brandeis Question
Coincidentally, this comes at a time when the primary polluter [Boeing] has launched an email campaign to solicit letters from “Californians” to ask for a less strict cleanup, claiming that their cleanup agreement is too strict, and not standard. This adds more questions because Boeing never signed the agreement to background and is only required to do a risk-based cleanup, which they agreed to in 2007, ten years ago. It wasn’t until the deadline of ten years was missed, that Boeing announced that they would not be adhering to the cleanup agreement (that never started).
How is it possible that the camp was not notified during the lead cleanup of this drainage that has been ongoing for more than a decade. Instead, they put their kids in the actual stormwater coming off the site. Considering the questionable water quality, this is of real concern.
What is even worse, is that the camp promotes “Winter Camp” on their website where they actually promote rafting and they show a video ‘rafting’ down the stormwater channel ‘when it’s rained.’ That’s just crazy, especially when they know of the risk. How can they take that risk with their kids? I mean, one of the exposure pathways is dermal, and certainly if you’re in the water, you could be at risk.
How the letters from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), to reassure the camp and parents (Brandeis Bardin, American Jewish University), is erasing the past from the beleaguered aerospace giant next door.
Rafting and inner-tubing down the stormwater runoff would never be considered, would it?
That’s what we asked when confronted with a recent statement from DTSC, the division of CalEPA called the Department of Toxic Substances Control, claiming that the Brandeis Bardin campus was free from chemical and radiological contamination from their neighbor up the hill.
They even go so far as saying that a “physical buffer zone separates the camp from the contamination at Santa Susana.” This is an extraordinary statement because the buffer zone properties used to belong to Brandeis but were contaminated and so the land was transferred as part of a litigation settlement in 1996. But the buffer-zones include steep hillsides and even sheer cliffs, so I don’t see how it separates the camp from contamination. Especially given the steepness hillside.
It was shocking to me to see a statement like that coming from the regulator when they know better. They have over a million pages of documents showing historical contamination and water quality impairment at the field lab and associated streams. So why are they so determined to deny the contamination from Santa Susana Field Laboratory? Perhaps it is because of previous litigation that transferred the “northern buffer zones” from being Brandeis property to being part of the contaminated field lab.
They’re in the middle of a chemical cleanup of that drainage right now, and it’s been going on year after year since 2006 when we first made the discovery which resulted in an Immediate Substantial Endangerment Order or ISEO that has continued over the years as lead re-emerges with each rain event.
411.65 TONS of lead have been removed from the northern drainage, as part of the Northern Drainage cleanup, which continues today.