DoD cleans-up used defense sites - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DoD cleans-up used defense sites

by Krystal Paco

Guam - The FUDS program was first established by Congress in the mid-1980s to clean up properties formerly owned, leased, possessed or used by the military services. There are over 30 formerly used defense sites on island, and one by one the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is giving them some much-needed TLC.

Senior program and project manager Helene Takemoto oversees FUDS cleanups all over the CNMI, Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam. Takemoto says the cleanups are intended to protect human health and the environment, noting, "What we're trying to do is restore the environment back to what it was before the military used the site."

Last week, Takemoto and a team of local contractors began remediation efforts at the Lonfit Planning Project in Asan, which is roughly 10,000 square feet with an estimated depth of impacted soil to be 3.3 feet below ground surface. "We're doing some bioremediation for some fuel contamination," she said. "We had some old Navy pontoons filled with fuel and there were some drums; what we're doing is removing the drums and the pontoons so now we're taking care of the petroleum leaks. So we're doing some biotreatment we're using a regenesis product and we're mixing it with the soil so that we enhance the microorganisms so that they would eat the contamination."

Takemoto says cleanups are a lengthy three-phased process to include inventory, investigation, and cleanup consistent with the comprehensive environmental response, compensation, and liability act of 1980. The cleanup team is slated to return in a month to take samples of the site and reaugment the soil. "This is a long-term program and our funding is somewhere around $17 million a year, so what we have to do is prioritize. We take worst-case first and a lot of the sites we also do ordinance and hazardous waste sites," she said.

Another identified FUDS site in Toto is scheduled for cleanup in May. 

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