Welcome to CDM Smith.

A Commitment to Clean Up the Santa Susana Field Laboratory

U.S. Department of Energy Ventura County, California
CDM Smith is helping DOE investigate remaining cont­a­m­i­na­tion, plan cleanup, and meet federal and state regulatory require­ments at a former research site—setting a new standard for contaminated site cleanup in the process.

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. 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 more than 270 original structures, 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. The CDM Smith/DOE team also hosted intensive weekly meetings with the community and regulators, and released newsletters to correct misper­cep­tions about cont­a­m­i­na­tion. 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," said John Wondolleck, CDM Smith project manager. "It was very gratifying to see our work published in the Federal Register."

DOE structures removed
public comments addressed
environmental samples taken

Completion of the ROD capped more than 2 years of intense activity for the CDM Smith team. The team 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. CDM Smith also provided guidance for DOE to meet all require­ments under U.S. and California hazardous waste laws.

At an Energy Technology Engineering Center panel in March 2021, U.S. Department of Energy officials Kurt Gerdes and John Jones highlighted the approach taken on the Santa Susana project, praised the work of Wondolleck and the CDM Smith team, and noted that DOE would likely use the regulatory approach as its model moving forward for other cleanup sites. 

The team's 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; 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; the 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; CDM Smith 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

Did you Know?

At DOE’s request to shorten the project by 6 months, the CDM Smith team 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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