2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: joelf@cape.com
Date: 27 Mar 2001 18:40:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Cape Cod Times: Natural Attenuation not working
Please post.
First few paragraphs. For rest see web address below.

'Natural' treatment plan for base plume in doubt Regulators say the
military's strategy for treating contamination in Cataumet isn't working.


   CATAUMET - For some involved in the Massachusetts Military Reservation
cleanup, it seemed like a fair compromise a couple of years ago. To treat
an underground plume of chemicals creeping from a capped base landfill
toward the Bourne village of Cataumet, the Air Force would use a
combination of active treatment systems and a more passive approach.
The portions of the Landfill 1, LF-1, plume with highest  contamination
would be treated with groundwater treatment systems at a cost of about $10
million. Meanwhile, the center portion of the plume would be allowed to
dissipate by natural attenuation, in which 
natural processes in the ground degrade contaminants. After a year of
monitoring, environmental regulators say natural attenuation shows no signs
of working.

 "We're calling into question whether natural attenuation should be
considered as a remedy," said Len Pinaud, the chief of federal facilities
remediation for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The
federal EPA also has expressed doubts about natural attenuation. There is
evidence that natural processes are working in some of the more
contaminated parts of the plume, says Robert Gill, the program manager for
the Air Force Center for Environmental  Excellence, or AFCEE, which is
coordinating the base cleanup.

 "But whether it happens fast enough or in the appropriate part is
questionable," he said. Although, he said, the treatment "system is in the
right place   to do the cleanup." The landfill plume - which emanates from
underneath a base landfill that was capped in 1995 - creeps west from the
base and underneath the village of Cataumet. Investigators say the plume
contains three sections, 
contaminated with varying levels of trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene
and carbon tetrachloride. The solvents are probable carcinogens.

Joel Feigenbaum
24 Pond View Drive
E. Sandwich MA 02537

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