Sunday, October 11, 2009

US Army Corp of Engineers Identifies Missle Sites Contaminated by TCE, a Known Carcinogen

Fifty years after the U.S. began the deployment of nuclear missiles in missle silos in rural America, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has begun identifying and cleaning up former nuclear missle sites in 9 states contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), a cleaning agent that was used to keep the missles clean and ready for deployment on short notice. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified TCE as one of several carcinogentic agents of which high exposures may cause nervous system problems, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma, cancer and death.

The IBCM missile sites include 14 in Kansas, 10 in Nebraska, seven in Wyoming, seven in Colorado and two in Oklahoma. California, New Mexico, New York and Texas have one contaminated site each. The Total cleanup costs are projected to be $400 million, according to the US Army Corp of Engineers

TCE may have polluted many more missile sites than the corps is aware of.

The corps has evaluated a total of 395 former ICBM and Nike missile sites since the Formerly Used Defense Sites, or FUDS, program began in the early 1980s. But the corps didn't identify TCE as a high priority until the Environmental Protection Agency adopted a drinking water standard for the chemical in 1989.
The most common use for TCE -- especially in decades past, before it was identified as toxic -- was as a degreaser and lubricant. TCE also has been used in model airplane glue, typewriter correction fluid and dry-cleaning chemicals.
The National Toxicology Program has determined that TCE is "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said that TCE is "probably carcinogenic" in people. Large-scale studies of health effects from TCE in drinking water, however, have been inconclusive. In southeast Wyoming and northern Colorado, the corps has identified TCE pollution at 11 former Atlas D and Atlas E missile sites that were overseen by F.E. Warren Air Force Base before being decommissioned and sold off in the mid-1960s. Most of those sites are remote, making them low priorities for cleanup.
One site north of Fort Collins, Colo., is close to a river. An environmental group says a planned reservoir that would partly cover the site could contaminate the Poudre River and municipal water supplies downstream. If the TCE plume gets to the river, it will be a dangerous chemical pollutant that the water providers have to deal with," said Gary Wockner with
The city of Cheyenne has been using four water wells about 10 miles west of town and eight miles east of the second ICBM site that was built in the American heartland. The wells are located within an unusually large, eight-mile-long plume of TCE within the Ogallala Aquifer.
TCE was first detected in the city wells in the 1990s but levels mostly remained below the EPA's drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion. Aeration at the city's water treatment plant broke down the TCE and made it undetectable in the city's drinking water, said plant manager Bud Spillman.
In areas where Until the cleanup is completed and the water certified as clear of TCE or within acceptable limits, the consumer should consider other sources of drinking water such as bottled water.

CONTACT INFORMATION: If you or a family member have been injured or damaged due to the fault or responsibility of someone else, an industrial accident or by a dangerous or defective product, drug or toxic substance, contact Alan Morton for a no obligation, free consultation.

For additional information contact:

Alan L. Morton
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Telephone: 208.344.5555
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 [866.WIN.1.NOW]
Facsimile: 208.342.2509

No comments:

Post a Comment