A one-time wire transfer of $67 million dollars will soon be sent to the City of Salina as part of a settlement with the federal government to eliminate underground pollution left behind by the military at the former Schilling Air Force Base.
According to Salina City Manager Mike Schrage, the fund will be jointly managed by Salina Public Entities to execute contracts for the cleanup that should be underway in early 2021. The long process of litigation will now give way to special crews working above ground to eliminate up to 11 underground toxic plumes.
Salina Public Entities expects the one time, lump sum payment from the government to be transferred before the end of the year.
The project will continue to have its own KDHE website for the benefit of interested citizens and area residents. The CERCLA process and KDHE oversight includes regular public meetings and opportunities for public comment.
The decades old issue has been contamination, things like solvents that have seeped into the ground, left behind when the Air Force vacated the base in 1965.
The area is now the Salina Regional Airport. The main concern are 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.