(FOX 11) - Simi Valley residents expressed outrage at a city council meeting Monday night over a city proposal to use potentially contaminated ground water as drinking water in the future.
They say the 1959 Santa Susana field lab partial nuclear meltdown in the hills above Simi Valley is to blame for a cluster of rare pediatric cancers in the area over the years.
The meltdown at the former rocket engine test center releases massive amounts of radioactive material and toxic chemicals, and the area is still contaminated to this day.
It was one of the United States’ biggest nuclear disasters
“My daughter was diagnosed with the first time with an extremely rare form of leukemia in 2014, she relapsed last November, had a bone marrow transplant, currently she’s cancer free but I feel strongly that the contamination at the field lab has had a direct role in her getting cancer,” said Melissa Bumstead.
“When I was four I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I spent 2.5 years in the hospital fighting for my life at UCLA, and my doctors firmly believed it was a result of the contamination at the Santa Susana field lab,” said Jessica Geselle, a 39 year resident of Simi Valley.
The city is considering using the ground water because they say Simi Valley can’t rely only on the California Aqueduct as the source of the majority of their water, and another option is needed in case of a disaster like a strong earthquake.
The city is looking at ground water as that potential option.
Every single person who spoke at the city council meeting voiced their opposition to that idea, and many of those speakers said they know someone suffering from a rare type of cancer.
“If you don’t want to think about the children and the families, think about all the lawsuits and bad publicity that our city is gonna have as a result of this type of decision,” one woman said.
A city representative told FOX 11 that any action is several years down the road, and that they are just studying the feasibility of using the ground water at the moment.
The representative said that the public comments at the council meeting will be taken into account.