Air Force to clean up station

EPA plans to oversee Neah Bay operation

NEAH BAY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment by Feb. 13 on a proposed corrective action plan from the U.S. Air Force for cleaning up soil and groundwater contaminated by underground fuel storage tanks at the former Makah Air Force Station in Neah Bay.

“The Air Force is responsible for cleaning up the releases from the underground storage tanks. In addition to reviewing and approving the corrective action plan, EPA will be overseeing the field activities described in the plan,” EPA Public Affairs Specialist Suzanne Skadowski wrote in an email.

This site’s challenges include the number and location of the tanks in different areas on the Makah reservation, Skadowski stated. She said it’s a high priority for the EPA.

The success of the cleanup will depend upon how much contaminated soil can be initially removed and how extensive the oxygen releasing compounds (ORC) can be applied.

Public notice of the corrective action plan is also on EPA’s website, www.epa.gov/ publicnotices, which also provides an executive summary.

In 2009, the Air Force submitted tank closure forms to the EPA indicating the underground storage tanks had been permanently closed between 1988 and 1989. A number of site investigations were conducted to the 2012 consent order. Some of the investigations were conducted under the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP).

In addition to approving the cleanup plan, EPA will oversee the onsite activities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its chosen contractor will manage cleanup and disposal on behalf of the Air Force.

Steps include excavating the contaminated soil as much as possible and treating the remaining contaminated soil and groundwater with ORC that will be applied to the excavation prior to backfilling.

In addition, the ORC will be added to the clean backfill within the excavation to provide additional treatment. Residual contaminated soil that cannot be excavated and groundwater will also be treated by injecting an ORC slurry into those areas.

The Air Force is responsible for the cleanup so EPA does not require any cost estimates or budgets from the Air Force.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which is managing the cleanup on behalf of the Air Force, is working with its contractor to determine applicable disposal sites.

If the cleanup standards are not met, then the Air Force will have to amend the corrective action plan to include additional remedial activities. Depending upon the results of the initial cleanup, these additional steps may include more excavation and/or ORC application.

The Makah Air Force Station was established on Dec. 15, 1950, and became operational in January 1952, manned by the 758th AC&W Squadron.

The new site assumed coverage from Lashup System site L-34 at Neah Bay. The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept and an early warning mission, which involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace. The GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft.

Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.

The Makah Air Force Station and the 758th were deactivated on June 15, 1988, with the upper radar site continuing as a joint-use FAA/USAF JSS Site J-80. The lower site areas were returned to the Makah Tribe.

The U.S. Air Force voluntarily entered into a consent order with Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 to clean up the site.

________

Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

More in News

Savanna Hoglund of Spokane takes a photo of her son, Lincoln Hoglund, 2, as hit sits on a wooden cougar sculpture in the Discovery Room on Tuesday at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. The center features a variety of displays that provide a sampling of what can be found within the park, as well as interactive exhibits for children. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Park exhibit

Savanna Hoglund of Spokane takes a photo of her son, Lincoln Hoglund,… Continue reading

Port Townsend City Council approves zoning changes

Reforms seek to increase housing density

A crew from Jefferson County Public Utility District works to replace an old pole with a new one on the corner of Scott and Lawrence streets on Monday in Port Townsend. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Replacing a pole

A crew from Jefferson County Public Utility District works to replace an… Continue reading

Clallam County to provide PUD with funding

Rescue Plan dollars to aid water quality

Port of Port Townsend considers hiring second engineer for projects

Agency has $47M capital budget, faces ‘unprecedented’ volume

Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Group

Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain talks with a crowd at a Sequim Business Merchants meeting. She encouraged people to call police if they see something suspicious.
Church, merchants seek solutions for downtown concerns

Police chief says Sequim not becoming Seattle

Recipients of the 2023 Jefferson County Community Leadership Awards are, from left, Adeline Gellert-DePalma, Future Business Leader of the Year; Sarah Spaeth, Citizen of the Year; Jake Ramsey, Rising Entrepreneur; Jacob Davidson, Young Professional of the Year; Richard Tucker, President of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Jefferson County; and Cathy and Pete Langley, Business Leader of the Year. The awards were presented at a dinner Saturday at the American Legion Post in Port Townsend. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Jefferson County leadership awards presented

Sarah Spaeth honored as Citizen of Year

Most Read