Navy seeks public input on environmental clean-up

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BRUNSWICK — The U.S. Navy is seeking public input on its proposal that no further clean-up is necessary at the pesticide shop on the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Until the mid-1980s, the buildings on Site 17 were used for mixing, storing and disposing of pesticides and herbicides. According to Navy literature, excess chemicals were reportedly dumped behind the shop, leading to elevated concentrations of DDT and other pollutants in the soil.

In 1994, the Navy removed about 1,350 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the approximately 3/4 acre site. In 2009 and 2010, another 400 tons were dug up and buried elsewhere.

In a 2011 investigation, the Navy concluded that the site no longer posed a threat to human health and the environment, and is proposing to take no further action.

While soil testing is completed, Remedial Project Manager Todd Bober said the Navy is still planning further groundwater tests. The property cannot be transferred until all testing is finished.

According to the Reuse Master Plan for the former BNAS, the pesticide shop is zoned for community mixed use, which would allow for commercial, retail, recreational or residential uses. Its proximity to the airport makes it unlikely to be converted into residences, however.

Before the Navy makes a decision about further clean-up of the soil, there is a 30 day public comment period ending August 31. Interested parties can contact Todd Bober at todd.bober@navy.mil or call (215) 897-4911.

The old pesticide shop is one of many properties the Navy is still cleaning up on the former BNAS, including former munitions sites, contaminated groundwater, and the former fuel farm. The Restoration Advisory Board will meet at the Parkwood Inn in Brunswick sometime in September to update the public on other clean-up efforts. For more information visit http://nasbrunswick.navy-env.com/.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

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