Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pentagon Finds Contamination at 14 Bases

The Pentagon says it found contamination from a toxic chemical, perchlorate, at 14 abandoned or scheduled to be closed military bases nationwide. But a Democratic senator said Friday more facilities should have been examined.
In the report sent to lawmakers, the Pentagon said it found the chemical in ground water and soil samples at closed sites in 10 states.
Perchlorate, a toxic chemical from rocket fuel and weapons production, has been linked to thyroid damage.
The amounts found ranged from 1.2 parts per billion in ground water at Fort McClellan in Alabama, to as high as 2,890 parts per billion in some samples of ground water at Fort Wingate Depot in New Mexico.
There is debate about what constitutes dangerous levels of perchlorate, but the Environmental Protection Agency's draft proposal for drinking water is one part per billion. Some but not all drinking water supplies draw on ground water.
Perchlorate has been found in drinking water supplies in 29 states and has also been found in vegetables.
The eight-page report, issued in response to a congressional mandate, was more than two months overdue. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., released a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Friday saying it didn't meet congressional demands.
Feinstein said the report should have addressed 74 potentially contaminated closed bases - a number contained in a General Accounting Office report from 2003.
She also complained that the Pentagon shouldn't wait for the EPA to issue a final national standard for perchlorate to develop clean-up plans. The final standard isn't expected until 2006 and the report indicates clean-up at most bases will wait until then. 
Fort McClellan in Alabama; Fort Ord, El Toro Marine Corps Base, McClellan Air Force Base and Mather Air Force Base in California; Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado; Savanna Army Depot and Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois; Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana; Fort Wingate Depot in New Mexico; Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon; Red River Army Depot in Texas, which is open, but scheduled to be closed; Camp Bonneville in Washington; and White Oak Naval Special Warfare Group in Maryland.


  1. When I was a kid I lived just outside Chanute AFB in Thomasboro IL. Many of the kids that went to that school had relatives or parents that worked and served on the base. This was in the late 70s and early 80s. At the time I would have been between 5 to 9 years of age. Back then it was so well known that agent orange was on the base and being burried that the kids knew that it was on the base. This would even involve kids that had parents that were not just working on the base but also those that are in excavation/construction. We did not even know it was supposed to be a secret it was so well known. Although we did not know of its hazards.

    How I personally learned what agent orange was is funny. At the time Thomasboro was a very small town and had one police officer. He went by officer Orange. I would from time to time hear kids saying that their dad will be comming home late tonight because he is either digging to bury agent orange or is burrying it. Then as a kid I was confused because I did not understand why they would be burrying what I thought was Officer Orange on the AFB especcialy since I had just seen him earlier in the day in his car So when I asked one of the kids they laughed and said it was just weed killer with the same name.

    This is also how I learned what magnesium was. I recall massive black smoke clouds comming from the base and was told they were practice fires and were burning metal with jet fuel and tires. As a kid it was confusing how metal could burn then I was told about magnesium which is something most kids in that age range would not have known about.

    My only personal witnessing of burying was barrels that were black I cant recall any markings but I would not have known what they meant any way. I saw it while riding along the outer perimeter of the base in my parents car. This would be on what I think was either the south side or the east side of the base. But I am leaning more towards the east side because I think the big fires usually happened on the south side. The county road ran just along the outside of the fence so you could see directly in. I just recall some open trenches between the barrels and the fence. From where I was standing in the car (yes I said standing I was a kid and it was was the 70s/early 80s before much seat belt awareness) I could not tell the depth of the trenches. The stacks of barrels were three to five hi laying on their side and the ends of the stacks tapering off down to one. I had no idea why they were burying the barrels but the intention was clear. The few times I saw this seen in my I do not recall any guards near it or even a attempt to hide what they were doing.

  2. I was there in 71 just out of bootcamp in Lackland AFB Sanantonio, tex.