By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Finally a great piece of work on the Boeing/Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Lab.The article notes that the facility is in the midst of a "cleanup". That's not exactly right when the current U.S. Dept of Energy and the CA Dept. of Health Services proposals are to clean up 1 percent of the site and leave the other 99 percent with radioactivity levels 300 to 10,000 times higher than the EPA says is appropriate.
Once again, Mr. Collins is playing fast and loose with incorrect and baseless accusations against Rocketdyne. Decades of environmental monitoring and sampling have not found any contamination that adversely impacts the community. This includes sampling on and around the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) and extending beyond the 118, 101 and 23 freeways and into Reseda. In fact, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) stated that "Based on available data and information, there is no indication that off-site residential areas . . . have been impacted by chemicals or radionuclides from SSFL."
Nor was Rocketdyne involved in the production of warheads for nuclear weapons. Our nuclear research and development at the SSFL involved peaceful uses of nuclear energy for electricity production. In fact, on November 12, 1957, we powered the city of Moorpark — a town of 1,200 residents at the time. The "now-closed" facility? More than 200 employees currently work at the site conducting research and performing engine tests on a regular basis. As for the property being "riddled with earthquake faults," after the 1994 Northridge quake, one door fell off its hinge at the SSFL. A far cry from any serious damage.
Rocketdyne maintains a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program at the SSFL. This program includes more than 300 monitoring wells and springs, extraction wells, and several groundwater treatment systems. Several of these groundwater monitoring wells are located in the south and southwest portion of the SSFL adjacent to the SSFL property boundary. These monitoring wells show that groundwater contamination is not migrating to the south and southwest (towards the Ahmanson property). Based on these results, there is no information or data to suggest groundwater impacts from the SSFL have in the past, or will potentially in the future, adversely affect the proposed Ahmanson Ranch development. Furthermore, the existing groundwater studies have found that faults beneath the SSFL are not preferred flow pathways for contaminants to be transported beyond the SSFL site.
Mr. Collins is also incorrect when he alleges "One surface water sample detected highly radioactive strontium-90 at a level eight times higher than limits set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency." The three water samples taken on Ahmanson property, to which he refers, had strontium results of 0.01, -0.03 and 0.08 picocuries per liter. How do these results compare to EPA standards? The proposed federal EPA standards for strontium-90 in drinking water were published in 40 CFR 141 and 142, "National Primary Drinking Water Regulations; Radionuclides; Notice of Data Availability" on April 21, 2002 (Federal Register Vol 65, No. 78, page 21576). The standard for strontium-90 in drinking water is 8 picocuries per liter. Therefore the maximum water sample was actually 100 times less than the federal EPA drinking-water standard. This is poor evidence of alleged surface water contamination.
We regret that with all of the information about the site that is available to the public, Mr. Collins prefers to rely on inaccurate and unfounded statements to make his point.
CLUELESS ON MELROSE
Let's all pity poor Maryam Henein. Her recent failure to successfully navigate a crosswalk, recounted in "The Guardian Angels of Melrose Avenue" [A Considerable Town, June 14-20], resulted in some broken ribs and a bruised tailbone. "Yeah, I spotted the SUV in the distance, but I assumed the driver would stop," she writes. Well, duh. Your average 6-year-old knows to look both ways before crossing the street and not just make assumptions about what drivers will -- or should -- do. Rather than take some responsibility for lacking basic survival skills that most children -- even most squirrels -- possess, Henein instead launches into a campaign for airport-runway lights at crosswalks.
Exactly how many $30,000 blinking-light crosswalks would St. Maryam recommend we install in a county with tens of thousands of intersections? Should we just put them at trendy corners between bookstores and coffeehouses, or everywhere? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just hire crossing guards to hold the hands of folks like Henein at intersections? Better yet, let Henein hitch a ride with Ben Ehrenreich ["Instant Karma on the 710," A Considerable Town, May 24-30], who's as clueless to his own idiotic driving as Henein is to her pathetic assumption that every driver on the planet should be looking out for her -- a mistake, I dare say, she won't repeat.