- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers is going ahead with plans to treat contaminated groundwater at a former nuclear missile site east of Cheyenne despite concerns from several residents and elected officials about safety.

Members of the Laramie County Commission and a former Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality regulator also are calling for the Corps of Engineers to form a citizen advisory panel to review the proposal.

The 1960s-era site is one of several local former F.E. Warren AFB launch sites where investigators have found trichloroethylene, a cancer-causing chemical, in the groundwater. The chemicals were used to clean missile launchers.

Officials say there is no immediate health threat, but there are concerns that the contamination could spread to residential and agricultural wells.

The Army Corps of Engineers wants to inject microorganisms into the water to break down the TCE over a 200-year period as part of a $26 million project to treat the contaminated groundwater, the Cheyenne Tribune Eagle reported (https://tinyurl.com/j3rq5d8).

Jane Francis, a recently retired Department of Environmental Quality supervisor who worked on the missile cleanup projects, sent Gov. Matt Mead and other elected officials a letter calling the “misguided.”

“These technologies are the cheapest ones they could come up with,” she said. “However, it should be noted that if they don’t work, they are a waste of money.”

Opponents want a citizen-led advisory panel. The Army Corps of Engineers responded in a Dec. 15 letter that only seven community members applied to be board members, which the agency said is not enough to form a committee.

Drew Reckmeyer, a section chief with the Corps’ Environmental Remediation Branch, said the agency commissioned its own independent reviews for all of its formerly used defense sites.

He said the remediation plan relies on established scientific methods.


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, https://www.wyomingnews.com

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