By Michael Collins

Ventura County Reporter – February 12, 2003

Things are Perc-ing Up with this pound of perchlorate

Even veterans of the decades-old battle over Rocketdyne’s heavily polluted Santa Susana Field Laboratory were a bit awed Monday night.

Gone was the contentiousness that marked Rocketdyne community meetings over the last 10 years.

The standing-room-only crowd and parade of officials at Thousand Oaks’ Civic Arts Plaza seemed intent on one thing: cleaning up perchlorate.

35th District Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson, chair of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee, held an initial hearing on the dangers the rocket fuel oxidizer poses to our water supply.

First, the good news: Current testing technology shows that ‘product from the Calleguas Municipal Water District (CMWD), which supplies Ventura County with more than 75 percent of its drinking water from Northern California through the state Water Project, is perchlorate free. The district also reported that none of the toxin exists in the county’s drinking water wells.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, which encompasses Los Angeles and Ventura counties, gave the latter a clean bill of health; not so for Los Angeles County, showing more than 130 wells impacted by perchlorate.

Now the bad news: As ordered by the regional board last month, Rocketdyne released data on its perchlorate activities— and they were grim.

The company admitted to open-air burning of more than 1,700 pounds of perchlorate, and surface water at the site tested as high as 48,000 parts per billion (ppb) of the compound—two ppb is the State’s recommended maximum dose.

Perchlorate-tainted water tested at 17 ppb was coming off the property in the form of stormwater down Bell Canyon—straight into Supervisor Linda Parks’ district.