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[KB Home’s Runkle Canyon development is now called Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands]

This updated and totally reconfigured Runkle Canyon Complete Timeline has the latest news and information related to Runkle Canyon and, to the extent that it has to do with the canyon, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. This blog update supplements our September 23, 2010 LA Weekly article “Rocketdyne Cleanup Won’t Help Runkle Canyon” which is part of our “Sleight of Land” package of articles, interviews, photographs, maps and videos.

Following the timelines is a 2008 Summary with expanded analysis. Information through 2016 is forthcoming.

Click here for larger Complete Runkle Canyon Timeline
* A small flag on the bottom represents an event that can’t be seen with the current zoom. Increase the zoom or double click on the flag to see the event.
* The “list” view displays all events in a single vertical list (but doesn’t show complete commentary.)
* The “flipbook” view displays events in a fun book format.

Click here for larger KB Home 41 Documents Analysis Timeline
This timeline analyzes 41 reports that KB Home supplied to DTSC as part of their “Voluntary Cleanup Agreement” of Runkle Canyon in December 2007. DTSC is the lead agency to oversee the clean up of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to strict EPA Superfund standards. EnviroReporter.com submitted a complete analysis of these documents to DTSC on July 7, 2008.

Click here for larger Critical Runkle Canyon Documents Analysis Timeline
This timeline presents an analysis of information generated by licensed laboratories that should trip DTSC guidelines to precipitate further soil, surface water and subsurface water testing in Runkle Canyon. This information was submitted to DTSC on July 3, 2008.

2008 SUMMARY
In an e-mail to Simi Valley resident Frank Serafine dated May 20, 2008, Norm Riley, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Project Manager for the cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL or Rocketdyne), wrote, “We understand there are concerns about contamination [in Runkle Canyon], but those have yet to be substantiated by scientific proof. We are continuing with our evaluation and will keep the public informed.”

EnviroReporter.com and other citizens of Simi Valley (primarily the residents group “Radiation Rangers”) respectfully disagree. Information has been generated by licensed laboratories that, while not comprehensive enough, should trip DTSC guidelines to precipitate further soil, surface water and subsurface water testing at the site.

For example, in the first analysis presented herein, “Rock with White Evaporate,” heavy metal levels found at Runkle Canyon exceed the Department of Energy’s own levels that call for further investigation.

The Rangers have always maintained that the developer’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is inadequate and needs to be done over. After examining the 41 documents supplied by KB Home as well as the additional testing and information related to the site, EnviroReporter.com concurs.

Furthermore, there is evidence contained herein that the developers’ and the city of Simi Valley’s labs utilized inappropriate testing methodologies and either inadvertently or deliberately misinterpreted results or didn’t test at all for certain contaminants.

This document looks at the data already generated on the site, data that DTSC has either not inspected, inspected closely, or has already dismissed out of hand even when the data is a result of DTSC’s own lab results as was the case with the “rock with white evaporate” sample given to Riley by Serafine May 18, 2008.

This analysis covers material included, and not included, in KB Home’s 41 documents given to the Department of Toxic Substances Control as part of the agreement the company and agency signed by DTSC’s Norm Riley April 23, 2008. According to the agreement, a report on these documents is/was due 75 days after the signing of the agreement which would be July 7, 2008. Those documents are analyzed under a separate document entitled “KB Home 41 document analysis.”

EnviroReporter.com endeavored to submit this analysis to DTSC well before that deadline, as well as posting it on its website, however was delayed by analyzing the results of DTSC’s laboratory testing of rock with white evaporate. DTSC’s report on this evaporate contains lab testing results but no other analysis other than to characterize the material as a “salt evaporate” two weeks before the lab results were obtained. We feel that the delay is justified especially considering that our analysis of the white evaporate revealed regarding alarmingly high levels of chromium and other heavy metals.

This document contains information not provided to DTSC by KB Home, some of which is not analyzed by EnviroReporter.com because the information itself does not need our analysis or interpretation. Other material does include our analysis including various reports submitted by KB Home that overlap with the “KB Home 41 document analysis.”

This document/web page contains a summary that includes our focus and materials, the contents of the analysis with supporting documentation, and our conclusions.

EnviroReporter.com was not compensated by any person or entity for this work which took several weeks to complete and was submitted to DTSC on July 3, 2008 and posted on our website thereafter. It is our hope, however, that the department actually exercise due diligence inspecting these materials and not simply dismiss them as seems to be the case with the rock with white evaporate lab results which showed high heavy metal concentrations including chromium which was not further analyzed for valences.

Focus and materials

This investigation of Runkle Canyon pollution issues began in 2004 and is ongoing for several newspapers and EnviroReporter.com. Comprehensive analysis of a large number of known Runkle Canyon-related environmental documents is provided in order to further this investigation and to educate and inform our readers.

This examination will also provide assistance to California-EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control as they investigate Runkle Canyon, the first phase of which is analysis of written documentation provided to the department by the developer. These documents were provided DTSC by KB Home as part of their April 11, 2008 agreement that we reported on in our April 24, 2008 Ventura County Reporter article “Reassessing Runkle.”

The agreement also states that DTSC will be examining the developer-related documents “as well as additional reports and appendices, tables and figures, correspondence, and other documents.” Our analysis falls into this later category.

EnviroReporter.com is also completing this ongoing work at the request of the Simi Valley citizens group, the Radiation Rangers, who have provided material assistance to us, in the form of photographic documentation, sample collection and lab analysis. The Rangers have requested that this analysis be included in DTSC’s documents investigation as part of their public comment in this process.

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