The 2,850-acre Santa Susana Field Laboratory sits high in the hills between the Simi and San Fernando valleys in eastern Ventura County, California. Our ongoing investigation of Rocketdyne, as it is commonly called, began in 1998.
Rocketdyne Maps locate this semi-hidden outdoor lab in the Simi Hills, show where the nuclear and rocketry work was done and layout where vast areas have been polluted. Maps also show drainages from lab form headwaters of the Los Angeles River as well as draining to the Arroyo Simi.
Resource Conservation Recovery Act Facility Investigations, or RFI groupings, are areas of the Santa Susana Field Lab that are characterized for contamination. Once this work is completed, the lead agency for the cleanup of Rocketdyne, California EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control, solicits public comment before final approval of each RFI's work plan.
Area I consists of 671 acres owned by Rocketdyne and 42 acres owned by NASA (formerly owned by U.S. Air Force) in the
northeast portion of the site. It is the site of years of rocket tests, laser experimentation and a host of activities that have left the land and groundwater polluted.
Area I includes the former Thermal Treatment Facility and three rocket engine test areas, the Bowl, Canyon, and Advanced Propulsion Test Facility (APTF) areas.
Area I contains the 858-acre Group 1B which includes 6 RFI sites including one engine test stand, two research and testing laboratories, two surface water ponds, and one open-burn/open detonation facility.
SSFL Area II includes the rocket test stands at the Alpha Area and Bravo Area. Operational with three test stands beginning in 1955, Alpha supported the first manned orbital flight of Atlas-Mercury in 1962.
SSFL Area II includes the rocket test stands at the Coca Area. The Coca complex was involved with several missile programs including Navaho, Atlas, J-2, Saturn V second Stage Battleship (five J-2s), SSME, and Delta IV Expendable Launch Vehicle Tanks.
SSFL Area II includes the Delta site, first constructed in 1957 for Thor engine testing and later modified for the Lance J-2 programs. The area has also been used for the loading of propellant for Peacekeeper Stage IV. In all, Delta Area participated in the missile programs E-1 Engine, X-1 Engine, X-4 Engine, J-2/Saturn-V, Atlas, Jupiter, NOMAD, and Lance.
Area III of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) encompasses a number of facilities, most of which are astronomically polluted. The drainage from Area III makes its way down Bell Canyon and into the Los Angeles River to the east.
Throughout the SSFL facility are a number of so-called "ponds" which are extraordinarily polluted. They also sit at the very top of the headwaters of the Los Angeles River across the Ventura County line to the east.
25 GALLERIES of Santa Susana Field Laboratory's Area IV, which contains extensive radiological contamination as the result of partial meltdowns, accidents, spills along with burning and dumping of radioactive debris.
Special thanks for the use of many of these images to the Aerospace Cancer Museum of Education, Rocketdyne Archives, H2OhNo!!!, the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Department of Energy, as well as various municipal, state and federal government agencies.