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In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Grand Central Rocket Company, and later the Lockheed Propulsion Company (which purchased Grand Central Rocket), used two remote sites near Beaumont, Calif., to test solid rocket propellant and motors, weapons, and ballistics.
Contamination related to these operations has been found at both sites—Potrero Canyon and Laborde Canyon. Although today the sites are owned by entities other than Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin has assumed responsibility for environmental cleanup at both locations.
The Corporation is conducting extensive environmental testing at these sites and is fully committed to ensuring the health and safety of the environment at each site. Specific information about Potrero Canyon and Laborde Canyon is included below.
Potrero Canyon is a vast, 9,117-acre remote site just south of Beaumont. Lockheed Martin industrial activities at Potrero Canyon occurred at nine principal areas of operation. Over the years, extensive investigations have been conducted to identify and characterize contaminants resulting from past operations.
After considerable testing, major removal activities and remedial actions occurred between 1986 and 2002, including implementation of a groundwater treatment system that operated at the rocket-motor production area from 1994 to 2002.
In 2002, additional newly regulated chemicals were identified that the groundwater treatment system had not removed, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control allowed Lockheed Martin to shut down the groundwater treatment system to conduct investigations and review remediation alternatives for the site.
Compounds of potential concern at Potrero Canyon include chlorinated solvents, 1,4-dioxane, and perchlorate. As of 2011, 172 observation wells, groundwater-monitoring wells, and extraction wells are in place across the site to provide information about groundwater contamination.
Lockheed Martin retains a 565-acre conservation easement at the site and the State of California owns the remaining 8,552 acres. The state-owned land is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Lockheed Martin has posted explanatory warning signs at the site, because dummy projectiles and residual explosives may remain in areas where munitions testing took place.
The Corporation is training local and state government officials and first-responders to recognize and report safely dispose of such legacy munitions, which will allow for the safe disposal of the projectiles and residual explosives.
Lockheed Martin has evaluated potential ecological and human health risks that could be associated with contaminants at the Potrero Canyon site and is also assessing the best technical path forward.
The results of these assessments will be used to develop the remedial action plan (RAP) that Lockheed Martin will submit to the California Department of Toxic Substance Control in approximately 2014.
Laborde Canyon is southwest of the City of Beaumont in the San Timoteo Badlands, an area of steep hills and sparse vegetation in Riverside County, Calif. The site comprises 2,668 acres, most of which were acquired by the Grand Central Rocket Company in the late 1950s.
Lockheed Martin acquired Grand Central Rocket, including this site, in the early 1960s, and shortly thereafter added acreage purchased from the U.S. government.
Although Lockheed Martin ceased operations at Laborde Canyon in 1974, other companies conducted activities there in the 1970s and 1980s. Lockheed Martin sold the site to Riverside County in 2006.
Industrial activities at Laborde Canyon occurred at five principal areas of operation. Lockheed Martin first began cleaning up the Laborde site in 1984 when it removed PCB-contaminated asphalt and associated sand and gravel.
This was followed nearly 10 years later by removal of more than 800 tons of waste from the Garbage Disposal Area. The site was reopened in 2003, at which time Lockheed Martin began extensive environmental investigations and evaluations.
In Lockheed Martin’s most recent investigation, boreholes were drilled and soil samples collected at various depths in 114 locations, in addition to 33 groundwater-monitoring wells installed in key areas of the site.
Soil and groundwater samples have been tested for numerous contaminants common to industrial operations. Lockheed Martin summarized these results in its Dynamic Site Investigation (DSI) Report, which was submitted to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Division in April 2010.
The Dynamic Site Investigation Report identifies the compounds of potential concern as primarily chlorinated solvents, trichloroethene, 1,4-dioxane, perchlorate, and the metals cadmium, vanadium, lead, and zinc.
Much of the soil contamination is near the ground surface, which is to be expected in such a particularly arid environment. Given Laborde Canyon’s remote location, these contaminants currently pose no threat to drinking water in the San Jacinto Valley.
Lockheed Martin currently is assessing the risks associated with the findings of the “Dynamic Site Investigation.” These assessments will be used to develop the remedial action plan (RAP) that Lockheed Martin will submit to the Department of Toxic Substances Control Division in approximately 2014.