The 1,595-acre former Runkle Ranch property is an unique and rare ecosystem in Southern California. Rain descends into the canyon from an 11-acre drainage off of Area IV of the former Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Water from Runkle Canyon ends up in the Arroyo Simi which replenishes an aquifer that the city of Simi Valley draws from for drinking water. High levels of arsenic, nickel, vanadium and other heavy metals have been detected in Runkle Canyon Creek.
On November 17, 2008, the DTSC’s Norm Riley, project head for the Runkle Canyon voluntary cleanup agreed to with KB Home, gave a presentation about the site to the Simi Valley City Council and community. The Radiation Rangers also gave a Powerpoint presentation which was aided by EnviroReporter.com’s Michael Collins and Denise Anne Duffield.
Runkle Canyon’s surface water is a drinking water source for Simi Valley as these photographs show. Runkle Canyon drains into the Arroyo Simi which replenishes the aquifer under Simi Valley which is pumped out and blended for drinking water for the east part of the valley. That drinking water presently tests under government limits for toxins.
Radiation Rangers head for Runkle Canyon with Pat-Chem's Ron Lovato on May 18, 2007. Water and soil samples come back high in the heavy metals arsenic, nickel, vanadium, barium, cadmium and chromium. Findings precipitate more testing more testing for toxins in Runkle Canyon by the city of Simi Valley.
After the Los Angeles CityBeat & ValleyBeat cover story "The Radiation Rangers" came out June 21, 2007, the City of Simi Valley decided to go up Runkle Canyon and test it for itself. This testing for Title 22 hazardous metals, which includes the arsenic, nickel and vanadium found at shocking levels by the Rangers and tested previously, took water and soil samples which were split to be tested by Pat-Chem Laboratories and another lab of the City's choosing.