The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started the cleanup of a superfund site near Moses Lake in central Washington. As correspondent Anna King reports, this restoration has been in the works for decades.
The contaminated area is made up of an old Air Force airport, a county airport and some adjacent lands. Dumpsites there are loaded with chemicals like PCBs, lead and petroleum. The EPA has started testing and designing a treatment system to remove trichloroethylene from the groundwater at the superfund site.
Over the years, solvents and chemicals were dumped right onto the ground or buried in drums. Rod Lobos heads superfund cleanup for the EPA on this project. He says legal wrangling and securing the money has delayed the project.
Rod Lobos: “Well, I think this thing started in 1988, and we’re in 2012 and I guess it’s nice to finally, you know, get some boots on the ground and start doing some work.”
The site was initially tagged as a problem when wells turned up with contaminated drinking water. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the City of Moses Lake will pay about $3 million for cleanup and the federal government will pay $55 million.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio