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Nevertheless, DTSC decided to make bold statements based on bad science when deciding which set of results for Runkle Canyon was more accurate.

“DTSC cannot verify the Foster Wheeler or Harding ESE results,” the department wrote in its December 2010 Runkle Canyon report. “DTSC suspects but cannot confirm that the Foster Wheeler and Harding ESE results may have been an artifact of the sampling methodology, laboratory analysis or lack of stringent quality assurance and quality control measures. In any case, DTSC was not able to verify the results.”

To put this disingenuous fib in context; Brausch is attempting to cast doubt on the original developer’s own reports from 1999 and 2000, reports that used the latest strontium-90 lab method, the same method that USEPA is using to test for Sr-90 in its sampling on “The Hill,” Rocketdyne’s longtime moniker.

Testing away the high testing results didn’t begin with Brausch, however, it began with shrewd real estate investor Peter Kiesecker whose repeated radiation test of the Runkle Canyon reduced the amount of strontium 90 significantly as we showed in our first expose on the place, Neighborhood Threat,” in 2005.

Kiesecker sold Runkle Canyon to KB Home in 2006 for reportedly $38 million, quite a sum considering the scandal that had broken loose the year before. But KB Home was used to taking risks. Its CEO at the time was Bruce Karatz who ended up being convicted of a felony for two counts of making a false statement over a stock price manipulation scheme. Never admitting wrongdoing, Karatz paid back KB Home $8.5 million and paying $480,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle a civil case.

In Runkle Canyon’s case, not only was Brausch wrong about the 2010 Eberline and Dade Moeller tests for KB Home antiquated and notoriously inaccurate in comparison to the 1999 and 2000 radiation testing, the actual lab data was a fraction what it was when the initial rounds of Runkle Canyon strontium 90 testing found radiation hundreds of times above normal. The 2010 reports added up to 148 pages while the 1999 Foster Wheeler report and the 2000 Harding ESE report, both using the newer and much more accurate Eichrom strontium 90 detection method, combined for a total of 2,724 pages.

“Brausch was just blowing smoke trying to discredit the reports which is what he has been doing since he showed up to slick over KB’s problems,” says Rev. Southwick. “He correctly calculates that most people will assume he’s telling the truth about such an important issue because he works for DTSC. Rick’ll probably claim we put those flammable fuel tanks up at the windmill well just like Norm Riley tried to intimate we planted the rocks loaded with chromium in Runkle Canyon.”

Even though DTSC wasn’t able to “verify” the results of the 1999 and 2000 reports, that didn’t prevent the department from declaring that the strontium 90 problem in Runkle Canyon was no more based on the “suspect” Dade Moeller reports.

That is until now.

USEPA, in its latest round of sampling in Area IV, found strontium 90 up-gradient from Runkle Canyon by the fence borderline clocking in at over 145 times normal background for the isotope at one to five feet below surface.

As a measure of how serious this is, the California Highway Patrol considers any radiological detection above three times background to be a hazardous materials situation which triggers haz-mat protocols for the law enforcement agency.

SEE GALLERY of Runkle Canyon windmill well turned dumpsite

Like the strontium 90 found in Runkle Canyon at such high levels in 1999 and 2000, this detection did not come with a similar amount of accompanying cesium 137. That disproves one of the main arguments of DTSC that the earlier Runkle Canyon tests were inaccurate: the Sr-90 did not closely match Cs-137 in concentration.

Now that high Sr-90 at Rocketdyne has been detected without the corresponding Cs-137, it invalidates DTSC’s unsound science based, it seems, on wishful thinking.

Another curious aspect to the huge strontium-90 hit on SSFL property next to the Runkle fence: it was found up a hill overlooking and draining into Runkle Canyon where no known radiological work was done. The rise is native chaparral but as Dempsey noted recently, old tire tracks led to the sampling spot suggesting that the deadly radionuclide was deliberately dump on a hillside that drains into supposedly squeaky clean Runkle Canyon.

“The key matter is the finding of separated strontium-90 by EPA at SSFL in areas abutting Runkle Ranch,” Hirsch says using the historic name for the area. “DTSC had said that they discounted the findings of strontium-90 at Runkle in part because it appeared without cesium-137, which they said was unlikely, and that they had no evidence of strontium-90 contamination at SSFL nearby, but could revisit the matter if strontium were found at SSFL near Runkle. Now it has been found. A supplemental EIR should be performed, and finally, credible, careful independent measurements made.”

USEPA’s Dempsey seems to agree according to a March 9, 2012 email of his published on a blog recently.

“In my experience, I’ve seen people look at artificial barriers like roads, fences, property lines, rivers, etc., and decide in their minds that radiation can’t cross that barrier, which is kind of silly when you look at it later,” Dempsey wrote. “In the bigger picture it’s just more important that we identify it so we can get it cleaned up. That’s really the most important part.”


Simi Valley Planning Commission
City Council Chambers
2929 Tapo Canyon Road
Simi Valley, CA 93063
Call to Order: 7:00 pm

* UPDATE – After a heated Simi Valley Planning Commission meeting in which a KB Home representative claimed that no Runkle Canyon windmill flammable liquids tanks are dumped on the property and that it hadn’t denied access to the EPA trying to re-sample the well which has tested positive for TCE, the commission agreed they needed to revisit the issue in greater detail before coming to a decision. The meeting was adjourned until June 6, 2012.

25 Years of Award-Winning SSFL/Rocketdyne Reporting

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  1. Wow, and to think I used to ride bikes as a kid down Peppertree Lane to the Brandeis Institute. How many more citizens have to get sick or die before something is done about this! Thanks so much!

  2. Rev. John Southwick

    Once again the truth is out there—-
    If only if KB home will just look and find it.
    Thanks Michael for staying with us during this fight,even though sometimes it seems it is like banging your head against the wall.
    Bravo Mr. Collins.

  3. Norm ‘Shenanigans’ Riley also disgusts me. His ‘science’ has been repeatedly debunked as nonsense. I hereby question his motive and design.

    Good on you Michael, Rev. John, Terry, Frank, Patty, and Bill for all your investigative efforts.

    This toxic abyss of unimagined depths amazes — deliberately dumped liquid wastes into wells that feed directly into the water table below the mountain. Radioactive contamination has been found miles away in places such as Chatsworth Reservoir. The long term fate of the huge aquifer is in jeopardy.

    ‘Waste Holdings’ were shipped in from offsite. How many millions of Curies of transuranic waste? Contaminated soil poses a threat to the community’s water table.

    Responsibility of the felon-polluter is to either prove that dangerous concentrations of waste never reach the groundwater (and water table and aquifer) or to act quickly to sponge up percolating poisons. Since the former fails the sensible science test, the quickness of clean up, then, is at issue.

    Being ‘quick’ is not the same as how fast the polluter desires to cut and run. Beware the repeat of shenanigans in the form of paid corporate experts trying to bamboozle the public at meetings. Advice: do not buy into their incomplete science, question everything, and investigate independently to verify the tangled web big money tries to weave.

  4. The frightening thing is nothing has been cleaned up. There is paper pushing, but nothing is being accomplished. I am disgusted by how little actual cleanup action is underway here.

    Suggestion: prepare a jam from Runkle Ranch prickly pear cactus fruit or sage or other native edibles found at Runkle (be imaginative — seek recipes online or consult with the Chumash museum in North Ranch / T.O.). Make a few jars of Runkle jam and mail them to DOE Secretary Chu, Governor Brown, Mayor of Simi, and 9th Circuit Appeals Justices with the following label on the jar:

    “This _________(insert type of preserves made) jam is a token of the future hazard of unidentified, uncontained, and unmanaged radioactivity at Runkle Ranch. Courtesy of the Radiation Rangers.”

    90Sr, 90Y, 89Sr, are in Runkle for at least one reason, that being because Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) were created as part of Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP), “a joint project of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA”. There were several SNAP mishaps at Rocketdyne.

    “RTGs are sometimes called ‘atomic batteries.’ They can be built with any of the following radioisotopes: Strontium-90, Curium-242, Plutonium-238 and Polonium-210”

    From the following chapter (please read this one and the whole e-book):


    Getting out some hot Runkle jam would spark heightened interest in clean up.

  5. Fukushima Radiation in America Update
    May 28, 2012: Bluefin tuna caught off of San Diego in August 2011 tests positive for cesium 134 and cesium 137 radiation, isotopic identifiers with the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdowns polluting the Pacific. Rense and Collins discuss the implications as the amount of highly-poisonous radioactive water from Fukushima pours at least 1,000 tons of contamination into the ocean daily leading to bioaccumulation now seen in some of the top of the food chain marine creatures.

    Runkle Roulette revelations too.

  6. Thank you Michael Collins for your excellent reporting. Keep it up. We need to know the truth about the contamination from the SSFL site.

  7. Hard to say what’s scarier – the contamination or the abuse of public process. Go go go, M.C.!

  8. Thanks again, Michael, for staying on the Runkle story, and uncovering all of the incompetence, denying, lying, greed, and disregard of potential harm to unknowing humans, by would be home builders, labs, real estate brokers,city officials and Government regulators who appear to have been looking the other way, in honor of the mighty dollar.

    All of this is really not only just a tale of greedy malfeasance and uncaring incompetence, it is really a story of a FELONY CRIME…..happening in very slow motion, before our very eyes.

    Again…we are grateful for the ongoing persistence and efforts of the Rangers, which includes you and Bill, and we are certainly glad that you have been able, so far, to keep any houses from being built and occupied on Runkle Canyon.

  9. Public officials selling out their own meal ticket. Let’s see how long they remain public officials. They could ask Norm Riley how that worked out for him. There is no public trust left to betray, and for good reason.

  10. Man, this is the nightmare that keeps on giving–some vested interest is going to decided that the only way to stop the dirt from being revealed is to bury Collins under a pile of strontium-90-laced dirt.

  11. Wow what a dynamite story. We would never know the whole story without Michael Collins. The coverup gets deeper and the news gets worse every day. I can’t imagine anything worse than having contamination in the drinking water, even if it is for the cows.

  12. You are doing a great job, reporting truths that needs to get out to the uninformed. I’ve tried several times to C&P, or capture to print, in order to pass the information to others who are uninformed. Unfortunately, your website is NOT PRINTER FRIENDLY. Is there a reason for this? As long as your website is given credit, and links are passed on with the printed material, you would get more traffic, and certainly you would be achieving your purpose (which I’m presuming is to spread the WORD).

    Major workarounds in order to print your articles; Perhaps you might want to allow for CUT and PASTE, or WORD friendly, or even PDF?

    Keep up the good work. I’d like to spread it around….

    ciao for now,


  13. Thank you Michael Collins for staying on this issue even when all hope was lost with the DTSC determination of a No Further Action. The truth will be much more stranger than fiction as we find out how they bend the truth to please the money provider. Not one person representing KB Home at the Planning Commission meeting would confirm or deny that they turned down EPA’s request to sample the “Windmill Well”…Onward to June 6th,

    William Preston Bowling
    Founder ACME (Aerospace Contamination Museum of Education)

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