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Report Says Rocketdyne May Have Polluted Wells

Dec 12, 2002 | Los Angeles Daily News Perchlorate from the Rocketdyne Field Laboratory is a likely source of contamination in 18 Simi Valley wells, according to a report supported by environmentalists.

But state officials at the meeting in Simi Valley where the report was presented Wednesday said determining the source of perchlorate contamination would require further testing.

M. Ali Tabidian, a hydrogeologist whose work is supported by longtime antinuclear activist Daniel Hirsch, gave his report to state, federal and local officials charged with handling the cleanup of the Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Lab atop the Santa Susana Mountains.

By looking at water tables in the Simi Valley, Tabidian said he measured the likelihood that perchlorate came from the Rocketdyne site rather than other sources such as fireworks or fertilizer.

After the contamination was found in the Simi Valley wells a spokeswoman for Rocketdyne, whose parent company is Boeing, said there was no evidence of a link between the contamination and the Santa Susana Field Lab.

Gerard Abrams of the California Department of Toxic Substance Control also said his agency didn't see any connection. Department officials at Wednesday's meeting cautioned against jumping to conclusions and stressed they will conduct further tests to determine the exact source of the perchlorate, a powdery white substance that can be used to flush out rocket engines.

The tests, they said, should be complete sometime next year.

Dozens of people attended Wednesday's meeting in Simi Valley and asked questions about the source of the contamination.

Some said they were concerned that perchlorate found in a well on Ahmanson Ranch property also originated at the Santa Susana Field Lab.

"It seems like everyone here is dragging their feet," said Oak Park resident Sue Boecker.

Rocketdyne officials have said the Ahmanson Ranch perchlorate did not come from the Field Lab.

There were more than 50 people at the four-hour Wednesday night in the Grand Vista Hotel in Simi Valley.

The meetings are held periodically by government officials to update the community on the progress of cleanup efforts at the Santa Susana Field Lab.

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