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Front Page » November 12, 2002 » Local News » Green River Missile Site
Published 4,333 days ago

Green River Missile Site


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

Testing Continues at Green River Test Site

The project team for the Green River Missile Base was recently on site to continue the exploration process to determine its final status. The project team consists of the White Sands Missile Range, Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Greg Watterson from the Mevatec Corporation said, "All of the soil, sediment, surface water and ground water sampling efforts are complete. The analytical data was validated by a third party, a company in Texas, and was found to be 100 percent valid and useable. The project team will be meeting in December to review all the data gathered and determine if any future actions are required. Based on the results of the meeting the site inspection report will be finalized for review by the White Sands Missile Range, Utah Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA.

"Internal drafts of the site inspection report will be passed between WSMR and the UDEQ/EPA during January-May of 2003. The final site inspection report is likely to be released to the public by June 2003. Copies of the report will be made available to Green River City. We have been closely involved with Mayor Glen Johnson of Green River on this project. The city has an intense interest in the site and its future.

"During this week at the site we have a geophysical survey underway by the Microgeophysics Corporation from Wheat Ridge, Colo. Dave Butler and Jason Small have marked a grid over an eight acre parcel every five feet on the section in question and they are walking this area with the detection instruments. They will go over each area three times. Soil conductivity and changes in the soil are recorded and all the feedback is tied together. The device carried by Small takes eight readings a second and the information is sent to a GPS unit attached to his back and then sent to a data recorder.

"Historical activities in the survey area indicate that it was used as a former metal and debris storage area. Former site employees have indicated to us that debris might have been buried within the survey area. We cleared the area of most of the surface debris and there were old rocket boosters and other metals on the surface, which is a pretty clear indication of what lies below the surface.

"Chemical results from the soil sampling effort didn't indicate any contaminants at significant concentrations, however, those results could not rule out any buried material given the previous use of this area. This survey will determine the presence or absence of any buried metal or debris. Three survey methods are being used a magnetometer, EM-31 ground conductivity meter and EM-61 metal detector. The geophysical team will provide White Sands with a report summarizing their findings. The report will indicate the location and the extent of any debris that is buried at the site. Maps generated during the survey will be digitally overlaid on White Sands existing site maps," said Watterson.

Jose Gallegos from White Sands is new to the project and was on site to gain an understanding of the area and the process they are involved in. He said after the testing is completed and if there is a problem with the buried debris that excavation could be a possible alternative or a soil cap. If the buried debris does not present a problem then the project team will be able to inform a future occupant of the site of its whereabouts and the extent of the debris with the findings from the geophysical survey.

Jerry Cross from the EPA has been involved with the project from the beginning, he stated that if they were to dig up batteries or barrels they would have a more serious situation than if household garbage was the only thing buried. "We'll just have to look and see what's in there and the geophysical testing was an easier way to determine where the debris is than just random digging."

Gallegos said, "The U.S. Army intends to excess the 40 acre cantonment area. The preliminary paperwork has been submitted to the U.S. Army Higher Headquarters but the excessing action cannot be completed until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completes the environmental baseline survey. The engineers are awaiting the results of the site inspection report prior to finalizing the baseline survey. There isn't a set time inwhich this will be completed, but the excessing process generally takes two years from the completion of the baseline survey. If a need for any site cleanup is determined this could delay the process of a land transfer.

Cross said the two processes have been running concurrently, but there are a lot of steps involved in the transfer process. There are a lot of different entities and hierachies involved and you never know who might come out of the woodwork, but at the present time Green River City is the only one who has expressed a real interest in the site. It was also pointed out that the acreage beyond the 40 acre cantonment area is a combination of Bureau of Land Management, state property and army property. The army has had a long standing lease with the BLM and the state for those properties which were known as the Athena and the Pershing launch areas.Mayor Johnson is still hopeful for the future of the site. He would like to see low-income housing on the site, businesses occupying the buildings and an ATV park on the surrounding acreage.

The project team will continue to grind through the data and they will keep Green River City informed of any developments as the investigation and the excessing process continues through the next few years.


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