“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.