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Cautious Optimism With Contamination Project

KSAL Staff - August 22, 2014 5:04 pm

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Officials are “pleasantly surprised” by some of the test results gathered during the first phase of a contamination cleanup project in the Salina Regional Airport industrial area.

The first phase of the investigation began back in June. It included monitoring vapor intrusion, ground water, and contamination plumes including the leading edge of a large 8,000 foot contamination plume.

Officials on Friday said that some encouraging test results indicated that the large plume has actually gotten a little smaller, and the chemical concentration is a little smaller as well. Though the plume is traveling toward wells which feed the city water supply, it is moving very slow. It is still at least a mile and half from the closest well.

Monitoring of 11 buildings for vapor intrusion indicated that immediate mitigation is not needed.

Though there was some encouraging news, officials cautioned that it is still very early in the process and that higher levels of contamination are still present in areas closer to where the contamination originated.

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.

The next phase of investigation work will begin September 2nd and will last through the end of the year.

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