The Boeing Company, Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Canoga Park, California

Information about Comprehensive Framework for Boeing's Cleanup

As part of a major development to strengthen the cleanup of contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in southeastern Ventura County, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Los Angeles Water Board) on Monday, May 9, 2022, announced a proposed Memorandum of Understanding with The Boeing Company (Boeing). The proposed MOU is part of a comprehensive framework that establishes strict cleanup protocols and timelines for Boeing, and also involves an agreement between Boeing and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Both the Los Angeles Water Board and DTSC are part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The framework ensures that:

  • Boeing will clean up radionuclides in soil in its areas of responsibility to “background,” i.e., levels that would exist locally without industrial activity.
  • Boeing will clean up chemical contamination in its areas of responsibility to a health protective cleanup standard that could be as stringent as a “Resident with Garden” standard that has long been advocated for by members of the surrounding community.
  • Following the cleanup, stormwater runoff from the Boeing areas will not be polluted.

The board held a public meeting on August 11 and, after considering all public comments, adopted a resolution approving the proposed MOU with some revisions in response to comments, and authorizing the Executive Officer to sign the MOU on behalf of the agency.

For years, this cleanup project has been stalled due to litigation and disputes over cleanup standards. The framework is the result of a 15-month legal mediation to avoid additional litigation under an earlier consent order.

The former field laboratory sits on a plateau and spans 2,850 acres 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. From 1947 to 2006, Boeing and its predecessors, along with NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy, conducted research, development, assembly and testing of rocket engines, small-scale nuclear reactors, and chemical lasers at the site. Though all industrial activity at the site ended in 2006, radionuclides and other contamination remain.