SSFL Area IV 11-08-08

Commonly known as “The Hill” or simply Rocketdyne, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory spans 2,850 acres in the hills above the Simi and San Fernando valleys. Area IV is the 270-acre parcel in the far west reaches of the lab situated in Burro Flats.

Our October 20, 2009 top story “There Lies the Fault” examines contamination at the Empire State Atomic Development Authority or ESADA. In it, we mention offsite debris from ESADA found in the highlands above Runkle Canyon. The photo of that, #0036, is in the sixth row down, far right. Note that these pipes seem identical to the ones at the ESADA site.

Storm water runoff from the upper Sodium Burn Pit is monitored at Outfall 005, below. This water flows towards the Arroyo Simi. Stormwater flows at Outfall 005 is estimated to be 0.0007 million gallons per day for a 1 year, 24 hour storm event. An advanced pump and treat system is in place at this location, see below in the first set of photographs of these so-called “ENTS,” or Engineered Natural Treatment Systems, in which storm water is collected in a retention basin and pumped through a two stage system using sand and activated carbon filters. The treated storm water is then returned to the drainage channel for release down through the American Jewish University’s Brandeis Bardin property where it ends up in the Arroyo Simi. Groundwater from the Arroyo Simi is blended with imported water and served to residents as tap water in the eastern part of Simi Valley.

Following Outfall 005′s photos is Outfall 006 where storm water runoff from the lower Former Sodium Disposal Facility is monitored. This water also flows towards the Arroyo Simi. Storm water flows at Outfall 006 carry about 0.207 million gallons per day for a 1 year, 24 hour storm event. Extensive structural controls are in place to manage sediment run-off and improve water from this watershed above Simi Valley and includes a gravity fed three stage filter composed of sand, granular activated carbon (GAC), and zeolite.

Outfall 005′s 2008 annual report and Outfall 006′s 2008 data has a comprehensive analysis of any potential pollutants flowing out of these fascinating systems designed to lower the flow of contamination down into the Arroyo Simi and the Los Angeles River on other sides of the lab.

(Click thumbnail to view entire photograph)