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Hill Air Force Base Starts Cleanup of Contaminated Soil

Hill Air Force Base Starts Cleanup of Contaminated Soil



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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AP) -- An Air Force contractor is carting away truckloads of contaminated soil from around housing units.

Hill Air Force Base officials learned about the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, on the base in February and collected more than 700 soil samples near base housing units. They targeted six areas that required cleanup involving the removal of about 1,700 cubic yards of soil.

"Our housing residents have been very patient and cooperative, and we are pushing to get this done as quickly as possible," Col. Scott Chambers, commander of the 75th Air Base Wing, said in a statement. "We hope to have the soil removed and the area restored before winter hits."

The contractor, CH2M Hill, started work Tuesday, taking the soil to Grassy Mountain Disposal Facility, a commercial dump for hazardous waste in Tooele County.

"During the cleanup process, families will have the option to either stay in their homes or relocate," said Barbara Fisher, an environmental official for the 75th Air Base Wing.

PCBs were used as a lubricant for electrical equipment and transformers until 1977. High levels of the substances could cause liver damage or skin rashes. They have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Officials say they know of no health impact at the base.

The largest concentration of PCBs measured on base was 270 parts per million, found near an unoccupied home. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines state that areas are likely to need cleanup if soil contains 1 part per million or more of PCBs.

The PCBs were first discovered by construction crews.

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Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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