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June 11, 2007: “Brandeis-Bardin Institute Strontium-90 readings” data sent in requested letter to city of Simi Valley by Michael Collins regarding California Department of Health Services (CDHS) contention that here was only one elevated Sr-90 reading detected at the institute that is between Runkle Canyon and Rocketdyne’s Area IV where nuclear work was done from the 1950s until 1988. “Our analysis shows that there are at least 25 soil samples with elevated Sr-90 readings,” the letter reads before going on to prove it.

May 30, 2007: Entire Pat-Chem report performed for the Radiation Rangers, including the pertinent two pages.

April 10, 2007: California Department of Health Services’ review and response to Southwick and Serafine’s questions about the soil testing which CDHS says “were limited in scope” therefore did not need a report to substantiate their findings. CDHS says that the default EPA residential soil PRG (“preliminary remediation goal”) in Runkle Canyon is nearly 4.85 times higher.

February 28, 2007: Rev. John Southwick and Frank Serafine, both Radiation Rangers, “Questions for the California Department of Health Services,” regarding their June 7, 2005 visit to Runkle Canyon where it participated in lab Dade Moeller’s sampling of five soil specimens for strontium-90 contamination.

December 2006: EnviroReporter.com‘s brief analysis of the Runkle Canyon EIR, or Environmental Impact Report.

December 2006: “Radioactive Contamination at Runkle Ranch from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory,” by Daniel Hirsch, Committee to Bridge the Gap contends that strontium-90 in Runkle is from SSFL.

October 2006: “Land-use conversion and its potential impact on stream/aquifer hydraulics and perchlorate distribution in Simi Valley, California,” By M. Ali Tabidian, Ph.D. Prepared under contract to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel. The work of the panel was conducted under contract to the California Environmental Agency.

January 19, 2006: In response to a request of Simi Valley Council Member Barbra Williamson, EnviroReporter.com creates an annotated version of “Neighborhood Threat” which was the original exposé that broke this story in Los Angeles CityBeat/ValleyBeat on March 10, 2005.

This includes excerpts of the February 5, 1999 QST Environmental report that indicates high strontium-90 and that “it would appear that there may have been some impact of radionuclides to the site from the Rocketdyne facility.”

The annotated article also details the October 25, 1999 report Foster Wheeler Environmental with excerpts from “Final Report – Runkle Ranch Site Investigation – Simi Valley, CA.” which show high strontium-90 soil readings across the property with the highest one, and the one closest to Rocketdyne’s former nuclear testing Area IV was 411 times background of 0.030 pCi/g.

Also sourced were parts of the September 17, 2003 Miller Brooks report that the city of Simi Valley used for the Runkle Canyon EIR that was consisted of just six soil samples which were sent to a lab that had instruments too insensitive to be of any use, as even the CDHS later admitted. The report also mysteriously calculated a very low number of fatalities based on strontium-90 exposure not attributed to any method, let alone one approved by the EPA.

January 19, 2006: “Hot Property” annotated article by Michael Collins that explores and questions the five soil samples taken at the Runkle Canyon property on June 7, 2005 by California Department of Health Services with split samples tested by lab Dade Moeller. CDHS samples test 2-19 times lower than Dade Moeller’s. Collins shows that the EPA strontium-90 background of 0.052 picocuries per gram of soil (pCi/g) is actually lower and averages 0.030 pCi/g.

January 2006: EnviroReporter.com‘s conservative 112-ton dust estimate caused by construction of Runkle Canyon is mathematically delineated.

March 10, 2005: Los Angeles CityBeat/ValleyBeat cover story, “Neighborhood Threat”:

In December 1998, when GreenPark began its environmental investigation of the property, the developer hired Phoenix-based QST Environmental to do preliminary soil sampling of the canyon to see if the former Rocketdyne lab “had impacted on-site soils, based on surface run-off carrying radionuclides to the site.” The results “indicated the presence of Strontium in all samples collected … that exceeded the EPA average local background concentration.” Indeed, the four soil samples contained up to 17 times the amount of the radionuclide that the EPA says is naturally occurring in the area. “Based on the analytical results of the soil samples, it would appear that there may have been some impact of radionuclides to the site from the Rocketdyne facility,” the report said.
Foster Wheeler’s 58 soil samples averaged 1.39 pCi/g, or six times the EPA’s preliminary remediation goal and nearly 27 times above the typical EPA background level for Sr-90 in the area. The hottest sampling spot, and the one closest to Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory, measured 12.34 pCi/g, which is over 54 times the EPA’ s PRG and 237 times the normal background for the radionuclide.

April 26, 2004: “Text of Patricia Coryell Remarks to the Simi Valley City Council.” Radiation Ranger Coryell shows that residents questioned Runkle Canyon’s Environmental Impact Report before it was approved over concerns about adjacent Rocketdyne. And those sentiments have continued as the “Text of Patricia Coryell Remarks before the Ventura Board of Supervisors” on July 17, 2007 show.

May 21, 2003: “Report for Asphaltic Material and Surface Water Sampling Program on the 550-Acre Parcel within the Runkle Canyon Property Located South of Simi Valley, in Ventura County, California.”

Excerpt from previous Runkle Canyon developer’s sampling for heavy metals showing only Title 22 heavy metals tested for were from a pool on top of asphalt and not in the creek adjacent.


The information analyzed in this document demonstrates that the developer’s Environmental Impact Report, approved in 2004 and previously reported on extensively by EnviroReporter.com, shows abnormally high strontium-90 soils readings. A retesting of Sr-90 in the soil by the developer last year came in over 100 times less than previously and averaged less than a quarter of the area’s normal background for the substance. The Rangers questioned these results and pointed out that the city of Simi Valley’s split samples, which yielded the same results, was in fact an outdated testing technique from 1967 and therefore unreliable.

* The Rangers maintain that a new EIR must be performed with the soil again retested under the supervision of DTSC with samples tested at DTSC’s laboratory to ensure accuracy utilizing current testing methodology. EnviroReporter.com concurs.

* The KB Home-provided documents show that the developer did not test for heavy metals in Runkle Canyon’s soil or water other than on a small patch of asphalt. Not included in the documents, but provided herein, are the results of limited tests for heavy metals conducted by the Rangers and the city of Simi Valley which show high levels of arsenic, nickel, vanadium, cadmium, chromium and lead. Water running down Runkle Canyon ends up in the Arroyo Simi watershed which currently supplies 20% of Simi Valley’s blended tap water.

* The Rangers maintain that more extensive tests of Runkle Canyon’s soil and surface water for heavy metals is necessary to assess the potential threat to human, animal and plant life. The city’s lab also recommends additional testing for these heavy metals and to determine where they came from. EnviroReporter.com concurs with the recommendation that the in-situ sampling be under the supervision of DTSC and that DTSC provide lab analysis.

* Additionally, the Rangers recommend that the local water purveyor be told of the vanadium in the surface water which exceeds the Notification Level. They also suggest that the water purveyor inform its customers of this contaminant threat and how it deals with it before it reaches the consumer. EnviroReporter.com agrees that the law be followed in this matter but has no position otherwise.

* The Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s former nuclear testing Area IV borders Runkle Canyon and has 11-acre drainage into it. On December 13, 2007, lab owner Boeing submitted an Offsite Data Evaluation Report for the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to DTSC that includes evidence that toxic trichloroethylene (TCE) had been detected in Runkle Canyon groundwater.

* However, the report says that “Runkle Canyon and the SSFL do not share a common property boundary,” when maps in the document show that it clearly does. The document goes on to say “No environmental investigations have been performed by Boeing, NASA, or DOE on the Runkle Canyon property” when the map showing the TCE hits in Runkle groundwater is on page 184. Perhaps ironically, the last page of this report combines the two falsehoods, showing the groundwater sampling spot on Runkle Canyon and the common Rocketdyne border and says, in conclusion, “Offsite sampling sufficient with no data gaps.”

* The Rangers recommend that DTSC investigate these discrepancies and also determine whether Runkle Canyon’s contamination is result of lab off-site migration. They also recommend that if DTSC determines that radiological and/or chemical pollution found in the canyon, using as sources all the reports cited in EnviroReporter.com‘s analysis and further testing as the department decides and orders, that Boeing pay for any past and/or additional sampling, lab analysis and any short-term, medium-term and long-term remediation. EnviroReporter.com concurs with the recommendation to determine if the lab is the source of the radiological and/or chemical contamination in Runkle Canyon.

* On March 27, 2008, Rangers Frank Serafine and Rev. John Southwick espied extensive white evaporate on an area where it had not previously been seen since the last time they had visited the area, which was before the winter rains. Nothing was growing where this unusual distribution of white evaporate/precipitate occurred. The two men gathered some of this material and gave it to DTSC’s Norm Riley at that evening’s quarterly Santa Susana Field Laboratory Workgroup meeting. DTSC tested this material and shared the results with the Rangers who then imparted them to EnviroReporter.com for analysis.

* Abnormally high amounts of chromium, iron, molybdenum, nickel and potassium were found in the white precipitate. The chromium registers over 20 times the Department of Energy’s Preliminary Action Levels for “industrial” zones, of which Runkle Canyon is not, over 6 times EPA Region 9’s Preliminary Remediation Goal for the metal, and over 35 times the average amount of total chromium found throughout SSFL’s soil.

* The Rangers recommend that DTSC retest this white material to determine the valence ratio of trivalent and hexavalent chromium. They also recommend that the material be tested for other possible contaminants and that DTSC try to “fingerprint” the source of such material. EnviroReporter.com concurs and further recommends that corrective action and remediation take place if the material is found to contain dangerous amounts of hexavalent chromium and, if it does, direct that KB Home and the city of Simi Valley immediately post warning signs by the contamination as well as on the perimeter of the Runkle Canyon property. EnviroReporter.com also recommends that DTSC investigate the substrata hydrogeologic conditions that may have transported this material off of SSFL and resulted in this phenomenon.

* The Tetra Tech report notes that the July 2, 2007 city of Simi Valley sampling yield surface water vanadium readings up to9.33 times the OEHHA’s Notification Limit (NL) for vanadium and 2.8 times the CDHS vanadium NL. The average reading of these four samples is 0.102 which is 6.8 times the OEHHA NL for vanadium and double the CDHS vanadium NL. Geocon itself collected a surface water sample that contained the highest amount of vanadium sampled in Runkle Canyon to date: 0.17 mg/kg. The Geocon vanadium result is 12.67 time OEHHA’s NL and 3.4 times the CDHS vanadium NL. The Radiation Rangers request that the local water purveyor be informed of these facts so it can inform its customers of the presence of vanadium in a source for their drinking water and what the local water purveyor is doing about it. EnviroReporter.com concurs.

* A reading of 330 parts per billion of perchlorate was detected in Runkle Canyon’s groundwater, five times higher than any detection there before. The Rangers request that wells MW-1 and MW-2 be reactivated in order to further test the groundwater. EnviroReporter.com concurs.

* There has been benzene in a tarry material found in Runkle Canyon that is nearly 55 times its PRG for residential soil, the limit of which is 0.62 mg/kg and that, according to the EPA’s 2004 PRG list for contaminants, exceeds the chronic, 100% chance of contracting a cancer from this substance which is 33 k/g/mg. The Rangers agree with the developer’s lab that the substance should be removed and deposited in a proper dump.

* Test results of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons include a result of 24.3 mg/kg for benzo(a)antracene which is 39.19 times its PRG of 0.62 mg/kg. The Rangers and EnviroReporter.com recommend further investigation of this contamination.

[KB Home’s Runkle Canyon development is now called Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands]

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