Welcome to CDM Smith.

A Commitment to Clean Up the Santa Susana Field Laboratory

U.S. Department of Energy Ventura County, California
Since the 1950s, Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory has been used for the testing of nuclear energy concepts and applications for liquid metals. CDM Smith is helping DOE investigate remaining contamination, plan site cleanup, and meet federal and state regulatory requirements.

Since the 1950s, Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory has been used for the testing of nuclear energy concepts and applications for liquid metals (sodium and potassium). As each testing program ended, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) removed the facilities and conducted cleanup actions. Today only 18 DOE-owned structures (out of an original more than 270) remain. 

Since 2008, CDM Smith environmental experts have helped DOE investigate remaining soil and groundwater contamination, plan site cleanup, and meet federal and state regulatory requirements. In September 2019, DOE signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for demolition and disposal of its remaining DOE-owned buildings in Area IV. "We helped DOE to craft the ROD, a major milestone," relates John Wondolleck, CDM Smith project manager. "It was very gratifying to see our work published in the Federal Register." 

Completion of the ROD capped more than 2 years of intense activity for CDM Smith since January 2017, when we helped DOE develop and publish the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for building, soil and groundwater cleanup. The statement evaluated procedures for characterizing contaminated building materials; collecting, handling, and transporting debris; and identifying off-site facilities that possess the necessary permits to dispose of the debris. We also provided guidance for DOE to meet all requirements under U.S. and California hazardous waste laws.

DOE structures removed
public comments addressed
environmental samples taken

Site accomplishments include:

  • Completion of the Groundwater Remedial Investigation Report, which was approved by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
  • Completion of human health and ecological risk assessments of proposed soil remedial actions. Our ecological investigations provided the basis for a Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which enabled DOE's soil remediation planning to proceed.
  • Completion of a treatability study of alternative thermal technologies to remove volatile organic compounds from bedrock in Area IV. Our Bedrock Thermal Treatability Report earned approval by California DTSC.
  • Assistance to DOE in addressing 2,200 public comments on the Draft EIS and developing the Final EIS, which was released in December 2018. We analyzed the potential impacts of remediation options on natural and cultural resources. 
The CDM Smith team continues to provide exceptional products . . . always looking for ways to increase efficiencies and reduce time-to-complete while not reducing quality.
Department of Energy

CDM Smith's support for the DOE cleanup continues into 2020. Wondolleck reports, "We have been preparing DOE for presenting to the community the overall scope of the demolition project, developing fact sheets that describe the 18 buildings and how debris will be handled. We also have begun our third year of supporting the groundwater interim remedial measure, which involves dewatering of bedrock fractures contaminated by solvents." 

Did you Know?

At DOE’s request to shorten the project by 6 months, we streamlined review and comment resolution processes. DOE Headquarters has announced their intention to incorporate CDM Smith's innovations into its internal processes for EIS documents.

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