Facebook Twitter

HAFB FIRES UP NEW CHEMICAL RECOVERY UNIT

SHARE HAFB FIRES UP NEW CHEMICAL RECOVERY UNIT

Workers have fired up a new system to recover tens of thousands of gallons of hazardous chemicals pooled beneath the ground at this northern Utah installation.

Operable Unit 2 began pumping Monday on the east boundary of the base. Officials say the contaminants were dumped in trenches from the 1940s to the 1960s, a time when that method of disposal was acceptable.Kyle Kirchner, project manager of Operable Unit 2, said the contaminants are mostly trichloro-ethene, or TCE, a degreasing agent used at Hill until 1975.

Some of the chemical mixed into a shallow aquifer and contaminated water farther downhill in South Weber, he said. He said that water isn't used at present and poses no hazard.

Operable Unit 2 actually has a relatively easy job because the contaminants have been kept in place about 50 feet underground by a layer of clay under the soil, base officials say.

Kirchner said the contaminants that are pumped to the surface will be incinerated. Water pumped up with the chemical will be treated through several processes to remove all the chemical, then discharged into the North Davis Sewer District system.

Kirchner said 4,000 gallons of chemical already have been extracted during the testing and startup phase. Up to 100,000 gallons may need to be removed, along with up to 5 million gallons of water.

It will take about two years to remove and destroy the chemicals and up to 30 years to clean up the groundwater, Kirchner said.

A similar operation to the west, Operable Unit 4, will be dealing with the same contaminants, which are spread over 60 acres.