We were concerned about Ahmanson Ranch’s proximity to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and the possibility that the development could literally be unearthing contamination from adjacent Rocketdyne.
Media reports began in mid-2002 questioning whether the land, and the groundwater under the land, had been contaminated by the lab. That media pressure led to testing of the groundwater which produced findings suggesting contamination with perchlorate.
Perchlorate is a rocket fuel oxidizer and was used in great quantities at SSFL. It is also a so-called “precursor chemical” in that it travels very fast through water meaning that if the perchlorate was coming from Rocketdyne and polluting the ranch, more dangerous poisons from the lab could be making their way towards Ahmanson Ranch’s groundwater.
As the revelations of potential perchlorate and other contamination from SSFL continued to mount, Washington Mutual finally came to the conclusion to to abandon the albatross that had become Ahmanson Ranch.