Simi Valley residents protest city proposal to use groundwater over contamination concerns

- Protesters gathered in Simi Valley Monday evening to speak out against a city proposal to use ground water as another source of drinking water, citing concerns about contamination.

In 1959, the Santa Susana field lab in the hills above Simi Valley experienced a partial nuclear meltdown. The former rocket testing facility released massive amounts of radioactive isotopes and dangerous chemicals. 

It’s believed the area is still contaminated, and residents believe its to blame for a cluster of rare pediatric cancers.

“In the 1950s, not more than 5 Miles from where we’re standing right now there was a major nuclear meltdown probably one of the worst in America’s history,” said Melissa Bumstead. “My daughter had an incredibly rare form of leukemia that she’s had twice and the picture that I’m holding right now is a friend of ours who also had an incredibly rare case of neuroblastoma, there are only 600-800 cases in the country and already we know 6 kids out here who have it,” she said.

And then there’s Caroline Johnson.

She told FOX 11 her dad worked at the Santa Susana field lab after the meltdown and his job was to assist with the cleanup. 

“He was a nuclear physicist, and everything they were doing up there was wrong. It was done incorrectly and he was exposed to some chemicals and ultimately he died of cancer from later on from working at Rocketdyne,” she said. “Me and my siblings, out of five of us kids, four of us had thyroid disease, which is perchlorate, which is jet fuel that leaked into our water system.”

The protesters are encouraging people to show up to Simi Valley’s city council meeting Tuesday evening to say no to the groundwater proposal. 

The city said the proposal is just an idea, and right now it’s just being evaluated to see if the groundwater is even feasible to use for human consumption. 

The city said any action is several years down the road. 

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