SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – DOE has collected more than 2,000 groundwater samples for analysis and removed 9,000 gallons of contaminants from the groundwater at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) site located northwest of Los Angeles, California since 2017.
The effort is part of ongoing monitoring and interim cleanup actions DOE is conducting at ETEC’s Area IV at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in coordination with the California Department of Toxic Substance Controls (DTSC).
When ETEC was in use as a nuclear energy and liquid metals research facility in the 1950s through 1980s, test equipment was placed in ponds at the Former Sodium Disposal Facility (FSDF) in Area IV for cleaning. This removed residual sodium from the test equipment and solvents containing the volatile organic compounds (VOC) used to degrease the equipment. DOE’s cleanup includes remediating the primary chemicals found in the groundwater under the site, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,2-dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE).
“We understand the groundwater remediation needed at ETEC now, because we installed over 100 wells and analyzed over two thousand groundwater samples across Area IV,” said Josh Mengers, acting ETEC federal project director. “We started this interim cleanup at the Former Sodium Disposal Facility and removed more than 9,000 gallons of impacted groundwater because of what we learned in the well sample analysis.”
Mengers said those interim efforts are critical to DOE’s broader cleanup at the laboratory.
“These groundwater measures move us closer to the goal of cleaning up the site in a manner that protects both human health and the environment of the local community,” Mengers said.
In November 2020, DOE published its record of decision (ROD) for groundwater cleanup at the site. It describes monitoring and treatment approaches tailored to address the contaminants and potential impacts in affected areas of the ETEC site, as well as interim actions.
While the state of California finishes an environmental impact report (EIR) — a critical and necessary step laying out final cleanup decisions — DOE is overseeing DTSC-approved interim actions to reduce contaminants and ensure cleanup progress at locations within Area IV. DOE’s groundwater investigation and interim actions include:
- Installation of 102 groundwater monitoring wells;
- Collection of over 2,000 groundwater samples across Area IV;
- Removal of over 9,000 gallons of VOC-impacted groundwater at FSDF.
Once DTSC publishes its EIR, DOE will continue cleanup actions outlined in its groundwater ROD. Until then, DOE groundwater interim cleanup measures and site groundwater monitoring will continue.
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