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Airport Contamination Cleanup Project Beginning

KSAL Staff - March 20, 2014 11:00 am

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A project to cleanup contamination in the Salina Airport Industrial Area is beginning this Spring.

Late last Spring local, state, and federal officials reached an agreement on cleanup funding. As part of the agreement, the federal government will fund 90 percent of the cleanup, with local entities funding 10 percent. Local officials had been trying to get federal help in cleaning up contamination that was left when the military vacated Schilling Airforce Base in the late 1960s.

At issue is contamination, things like solvents that have seeped into the ground, left behind when the Air Force vacated the base. The area is now the Salina Regional Airport.

The main concern is two large underground plumes of contamination, one in the north part of the Airport Industrial Area, and another on the south end. A large plume of the solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, is in the groundwater and soil. TCE at the time was used as an industrial solvent and has since been classified as a human carcinogen.

As part of the agreement, the federal government will fund 90 percent of the cleanup, with local entities funding 10 percent. Estimated cost to begin the cleanup is $9.3 million.

In August 2013, the City of Salina, on behalf of the Salina Airport Authority, Salina Unified School District 305, and K-State Salina, formally retained Dragun Corporation to take the initial steps of cleanup of soil and groundwater.

In November 2013, Dragun and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment conducted the first public meeting which outlined the work to be performed and the proposed schedule. Dragun submitted to KDHE, for review and approval, a number of work plans that are necessary to begin the site work.

According to the Salina Airport Authority, beginning this spring and continuing for approximately the next 12 months, teams of environmental professionals will be sampling soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment and air at the former SAFB, with ground water work starting between Interstate 135 and Broadway Blvd.

Several buildings located in the Salina Airport Industrial Center will be tested to determine if the contamination in the soil and groundwater is impacting indoor air quality.

Much of the soil drilling and monitoring well installation will be conducted using equipment made by Salina-based Geoprobe Systems.

City of Salina