L.A. city officials want testing required near lab

first_imgFollowing Ventura County’s lead, Los Angeles City officials want to require developers to test soil and groundwater for contamination before building within a two-mile radius of the Santa Susana Field Lab. The proposal by Councilman Greig Smith would establish the testing requirement and ensure the departments of planning and building and safety require sampling before developers get permission to build. “I just think this is the right thing to do to make sure we don’t make any mistakes and allow someone to build something that could put people at risk,” Smith said. The City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee approved the concept Wednesday and directed city departments to begin developing the regulations. “This is a prudent, conservative step that Los Angeles City can take to make sure additional contamination is not found in future neighborhoods,” she said. Even though the lab is outside city limits, officials said they were concerned after reports of contamination. “Unfortunately, pollution knows no boundaries,” Councilman Eric Garcetti said. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors recently adopted similar restrictions on future development for property within its boundaries. The Los Angeles city task force is expected to report back on proposed regulations in 45 days. [email protected] 213-978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Located above West Hills and Chatsworth, the field lab was a longtime nuclear research and rocket-engine test facility. Nuclear work ended in the late 1980s, and rocket-engine tests ended in 2005. The work left radioactive and toxic contamination in the soil and groundwater on site, and some pollution has moved off site in creeks. In 2005, a developer about to build luxury homes downhill from the lab found high levels of perchlorate, a rocket-engine fuel ingredient, in the soil. Centex Homes is now cleaning the site. Despite community concern, state regulators have said they cannot prove the contamination comes from the lab. Elizabeth Crawford with Physicians for Social Responsibility and Rocketdynewatch.org said the testing requirement in Los Angeles would help prevent any other last-minute discoveries of contamination. last_img