Black goo. Man with benzo(a)anthracene in Runkle Canyon July 2, 2007 with Simi officials.
Black goo. Man with benzo(a)anthracene in Runkle Canyon July 2, 2007 with Simi officials.
KB Home promises mass grading of Runkle Canyon

By Michael Collins

Ventura County Reporter – April 16, 2009

Leave it to Simi Valley’s Radiation Rangers to uncover more than just contamination in Runkle Canyon, where KB Home hopes to build 465 homes in the shadow of radioactive Rocketdyne. The citizens group has discovered that the developer has dug itself into a hole of its own making in its Response Plan to clean up the canyon by promising to remove two giant mountains of slag material that are leaking pools of toxic sludge.

“The tar material encountered at the site poses a potential threat to human health because benzo(a)anthracene concentrations exceed the [Preliminary Remediation Goal],” wrote the state EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to the developer last year. DTSC is in charge of overseeing a “voluntary cleanup” in Runkle Canyon, part of an agreement it signed with KB Home in April 2007. “The tar material should be removed from the site and either properly recycled or disposed.”

Benzo(a)anthracene is on the Proposition 65 list of chemicals “known to the state of California to cause cancer.” The Rangers have calculated, in their 58 pages of Response Plan comments on their Web site, that the poisonous black goo in Runkle Canyon exceeds the EPA’s Preliminary Remediation Goal by more than 39 times.

KB Home’s 37-page Response Plan says, “Other areas of the channel walls within the vicinity of the seeps have been reported to contain similar material,” but assures that “Development plans for the Site include the mass grading and removal of the aggregate piles in the ‘Fish Tail’ area. If additional tar material is discovered during future grading activities it will be managed appropriately.”

“KB Home has promised to remove those two mountains of goo, which they never said they’d do before,” says Ranger “Toxic Terry” Matheney. “But DTSC just can’t let them do this without a legal cleanup plan and city oversight because Runkle Canyon is in Simi Valley city limits.”

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