Dirty job: Air Force real property agency gets dirty, in order to clean up.Digging a hole is not the complicated part.
Sorting and removing potentially contaminated soil and breaking down harmful chemicals by using living microbes is where it gets interesting.
At former Kelly Air Force Base Kelly Air Force Base was a United States Air Force base located in San Antonio, Texas. In 2001, the runway and land west of the runway became "Kelly Field Annex" and control of it was transferred to the adjacent Lackland Air Force Base. in San Antonio San Antonio (săn ăntō`nēō, əntōn`), city (1990 pop. 935,933), seat of Bexar co., S central Tex., at the source of the San Antonio River; inc. 1837. , the site of a former aircraft metal plating shop used during World War II, these microbes thrive on a "cocktail" of vegetable oil and cottonseed that is placed regularly into a four-story deep hole.
The microbes feeding on this sludge, such as bacteria, break down harmful chemicals into harmless gases and water. Underground barriers called slurry walls are constructed around the dig site at depths of 100 feet to stop ground water flow and to hold contaminated groundwater.
The soil will be removed by contactors with environmental consulting firm Tetra Tech, and tested then separated. The "clean" soil will eventually go back in the hole and the "dirty" soil will be taken to a contained land fill where it will pose no threat to human health.
The Air Force Real Property Agency and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) formerly the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence, is a Field Operating Agency (FOA) of the United States Air Force that provides a full range of technical and professional services set a joint goal to have all sites in "Remedy in Place" or "Response Complete" status by 2014 to address environmental contamination caused at Base Realigment and Closure bases before they closed.
"It was common practice in the past to dispose of To determine the fate of; to exercise the power of control over; to fix the condition, application, employment, etc. of; to direct or assign for a use.
See also: Dispose things down the sewers and on the ground, the harmful effects weren't known at the time," said Paul Carroll, the BRAC Brač (bräch), Ital. Brazza, island (1991 pop. 13,824), 152 sq mi (394 sq km), off the Dalmatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia. It is a popular summer resort and tourist spot. Supetar (Ital. environmental coordinator. "It wasn't just the Air Force, it was industry wide.
"The important part of the AFRPA AFRPA Air Force Real Property Agency goal is to clean up these old bases," he said.
This process requires extensive coordination between the Air Force, EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.
n. , state regulatory agencies and local communities to ensure successful cleanup that clears the way for property transfer.
"AFCEE AFCEE Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence
AFCEE Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment , with its suite of contracts and contractors, provides a broad range of environmental remediation capabilities," said Dennis Lundquist, AFCEE's acting Chief of Environmental Executive Conversion.
"Our toolbox allows us to provide the latest and most innovative solutions in remedial technologies," he said.
Before the goal can be reached and before cleanup begins AFRPA officials do what they call a characterization of each site.
First, environmental scientists evaluate the area and determine the most efficient way to clean up the site. They take water and soil samples to reveal what type of pollutants are in the soil.
"When AFRPA did a site characterization of this site, they found that a plume was heading off base. A slurry wall was constructed around the dig site to prevent the plume from continuing off base and this (dig project) actually takes care of the contamination on the base," said Robert Moore, the director of the Air Force Real Property Agency.
"When they closed (Kelly AFB AFB
AFB Acid-fast bacillus, also 1. Aflatoxin B 2. Aorto-femoral bypass ) the community was concerned," Moore said. "The community wanted to know if the Air Force would walk away from the environmental issues or if they would follow through and clean up.
"We are committed to the economic development of the local community and the environmental cleanup of every installation: every site across the Air Force. not just at Kelly AFB." he said.
The director said the site will be used as a parking area for the largest administration facility at the former base.
"AFRPA and AFCEE, along with nine other tenant agencies will be housed here and this project site will be where I will actually park." Moore said.
Though the site is on its way to becoming a major accomplishment, the director said AFRPA is not done with Kelly AFB when the site is complete.
"We have more than $40 million dollars that we are going to invest in Kelly Air Force Base to complete it environmentally," Moore said.
Among the 26 sites currently under remediation at the base is another metal plating shop area roughly a mile away from the excavation site. There, an innovative process called electrical resistive resistive /re·sis·tive/ (re-zis´tiv) pertaining to or characterized by resistance. heating is being used to clean up that soil. This process cleans polluted soil by heating up the ground and extracting chemical vapors with tubing, then disposing of them with a treatment system at the surface.
Carroll said that 75 percent of the excavation site has reached its remediation goals and anticipates completion by the end of the summer.
Carroll also spoke on a new innovative cleanup process that involves hybrid poplar trees used around a landfill at former Chanute AFB, Ill.
Also managed by AFRPA, the Chanute project uses the trees to absorb liquid that has been in contact with landfill waste. The trees act as a barrier to prevent water migration and filter out contaminents.
"This is the first time we've used this process at a closure location," said Stephen TerMaath, the AFRPA's acting chief of environmental program management.
"One nice thing when you use poplar trees is that you do not have to rely on technology, like a pump that can break. It's always there and is effective," TerMaath said.
AFRPA officials expect the use of these trees will increase ecological habitat, reduce energy consumption and reduce the cost of maintenance.
These innovations have helped AFRPA officials transfer 86 percent of BRAC property, that's more than 75,000 acres of land, to the community.
"We try to bridge that gap where a community has been hit by an impact because of a base closure," TerMaath said. "We try to transfer the property to somebody that's going to redevelop it. That re-development will provide jobs and resources to the community."
"The transfer of land creates jobs in the community, and nationwide," TerMaath said. "Approximately 71,000 people are employed at those communities. This is 31,000 more than during the operation of the bases."
At Kelly USA, an industrial area that was once part of Kelly AFB, there are more than 5,000 jobs now that weren't there before the base closed. And upon completion of the excavation site, more than 2,700 folks will move into the administration facility and park their vehicles where a four-story hole used to be.
Digging the hole is the not the complicated part. Cleaning the site with the use of innovative processes, before moving the community back in, is where the complexity lies.
The outcome is what makes the money spent on projects such as these worth it," Moore said.
"It (the outcome) justifies the $2.8 billion we spent environmentally in AFRPA for base closure and realignment re·a·lign
tr.v. re·a·ligned, re·a·lign·ing, re·a·ligns
1. To put back into proper order or alignment.
2. To make new groupings of or working arrangements between. . We still have $800 million to spend," Moore said.
"We are in this and, as the Air Force chief of staff says, "'We're all in,'" he said.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY TECH. SGT. MATTHEW MCGOVERN