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EM News Flash | Dec. 18, 2018

DOE Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for Cleanup of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone at Santa Susana Field Laboratory

Media Contact: Stephan.Tetreault@em.doe.gov

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Remediation of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in Ventura County, California. Publishing the Final EIS is an important step to proceed with the cleanup process at SSFL's Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone.

“The release of the Final EIS is a major milestone in the Department’s mission to clean up the former Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) site at the SSFL,” said John Jones, ETEC Federal Project Director. “Our preferred cleanup alternatives are based upon years of scientific study and analysis, are consistent with the site’s end use as open space, and ensure it will remain safe for nearby communities by protecting human health and the environment.”

The Final EIS follows the January 2017 release of the Draft EIS, which analyzed the potential environmental and community impacts of remediation options on various resources including: cultural resources, wildlife, and local communities, as well as the potential environmental impacts resulting from the length of cleanup, among many other factors. Substantive comments submitted by stakeholders on the Draft EIS played an important role in the development of the Final EIS.

The Final EIS also outlines the Department’s preferred remediation alternatives for Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone. The preferred alternatives are:

For soils remediation, the Conservation of Natural Resources Alternative, Open Space Scenario. This alternative is consistent with the risk assessment approach typically used at other DOE sites, other California Department of Toxic Substances Control-regulated sites, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites, and accounts for the specific future land use of the site.

For building demolition, the Building Removal Alternative.

For groundwater remediation, a combination of the Monitored Natural Attenuation Alternative and the Treatment Alternative.

DOE conducted operations at the SSFL from the 1950s to the late 1980s. ETEC, established in the 1960s, served as a premier research facility for the United States during the Cold War. Since the 1980s, more than 200 structures on the site have been removed and only 18 DOE structures remain.

“During our review process, we analyzed, considered, and incorporated about 2,200 individual comments submitted on the Draft EIS,” said Stephie Jennings, the DOE/ETEC National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Officer. “The preferred alternatives, described in detail, balance the diverse community and agency input received throughout the EIS process while ensuring the site remains safe.”

In preparing the EIS, DOE collected, analyzed, and reviewed the results for more than 10,000 soil samples. These included samples collected by the EPA during a three-year characterization study of potential radionuclides that found very low levels of impact in Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone. The Department’s groundwater and air monitoring at the site is ongoing. Community engagement, through public meetings and specialized programs such as the Community Alternative Development Workshops, helped provide input into the range of alternatives presented in the Final EIS.

A copy of the Final EIS can be downloaded here: http://www.ssflareaiveis.com/