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Nov-03-2011 14:47printcomments

Veterans Toxic Exposure ~ TCE

Please write to us if you know of anyone that spent time on Guam, from the 40's through the 90's, chances are they were exposed to TCE and/or PCE in the water supply plus AO in the 60's/70's.

Anderson AFB in Guam
Courtesy: vrc-50.org

(PERTH, Aust.) - Andersen AFB was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) National Priorities List (NPL) on October 14, 1992, due to the extent of groundwater contamination under the base . To obtain details on sites investigated and contaminant levels fpound refer to the ATSDR report at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/anderson/and_toc.html.

As early as WWII, United States Air Force and other Military bases used and disposed of chemical degreasers and other toxic substances that were later determined to contaminate drinking water and pose multiple health risks including: Cancers, Reproductive disorders, Birth defects, and Multiple other serious difficulties. Countless military personnel, their families, and private individuals living and working in the near vicinity of the bases may have been affected by these contaminates, through drinking water, general water usage and exposure through vapor seepage. The four most alarming contaminants are: Trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), Vinyl Chloride, and Benzene. Scientific studies show that some or all of these chemical compounds have breached the ground water supply on several of our US Military Bases and in some instances, have affected civilian properties adjacent to the bases including churches, schools and private wells. Currently, on-going research is being conducted on military bases around the country and on properties directly adjacent to these bases to identify just how wide spread this contamination may be.

Andersen Air Force Base (Andersen AFB) is made up of several parcels of land situated on the northern end of Guam, an unincorporated island territory of the United States. Guam, the largest and most southern island of the Marianas Island group, is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Guam's landmass, about 30 miles long and 4 to 12 miles wide, covers approximately 209 square miles (USAF 1992a). The base covers approximately 24.5 square miles. It consists of two major areas and several smaller areas, called annexes. The major areas, collectively known as "the main base," are North Field, containing the base's active operations, and Northwest Field, containing abandoned runways and landing fields. The annexes are scattered throughout northern Guam and contain base housing, communications services, and water and petroleum storage facilities. The two largest annexes are the Marianas Bonins Command (MARBO) Annex (also known as Andersen South) and the Harmon Annex. The MARBO Annex lies about 4 miles south of the main base and covers approximately 3.8 square miles. The HarmonAnnex, 4 miles south of Northwest Field, covers about 1,817 acres in western Guam. Both the MARBO and Harmon annexes are largely deserted and covered with brush.

During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps built and maintained three air bases on the island: North Field, a B-29 bomber facility; Northwest Field, a fighter-plane base; and Harmon Field, an aircraft depot and maintenance base. During this time of rapid military growth, the Air Force disposed of some wastes (of unknown type) on private lands adjacent to Andersen AFB. After World War II, large quantities of war materials and left-over equipment (e.g., ammunition, artillery, and vehicles) were disposed of at Andersen AFB. Harmon Annex and Northwest Field closed soon after the war ended, but the rest of the base continued to be used for ongoing Air Force activities, including logistical and military support during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During the decades of military use, chemicals were used and stored in various locations on the base and spilled during routine aircraft, vehicle, and ground maintenance operations. Wastes from military and housing operations were buried in two landfills at the south end of the North Field runways from 1946 to the late 1970s. Soil and groundwater beneath these landfills, and in dozens of other areas on base, may have been contaminated over the years by routine waste disposal, military operations, and occasional fuel spills. Ten acres in the North Field area still serve as a sanitary landfill for Andersen AFB's non-hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is now disposed of offsite in compliance with federal law).

During the 1970s, Andersen AFB began monitoring its nine water supply wells on a monthly basis. Results of the sampling indicated that chemicals, including solvents, pesticides, fuel products, and some metals, had entered certain water supply wells. Under the DOD Installation Restoration Program (IRP), Andersen AFB then began a Phase I study in 1983 to track the history of the use and disposal of materials on the base. Using the results of this records search, Andersen AFB identified several areas around the base where chemicals may have spilled, leaked, or been stored or disposed of. The areas included fire training areas, chemical storage areas, and landfills. As soil and groundwater samples were collected and analyzed, Andersen AFB determined that some of the sites required further investigation. In early 1985, Andersen AFB made recommendations for Phase II field investigations. Results indicated that the principal site contaminants are trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), pesticides, fuel products, and some metals. Most of the contamination reportedly is contained within Andersen AFB property, although some chemicals migrate off base via groundwater and biota pathways or may exist at off-base locations proposed for further investigations.

[Source: http://www.militarycontamination.com Oct2011 ++]
Courtesy of Lt. James ―EMO‖ Tichacek, USN (Ret)
Associate Director, Retiree Assistance Office, U.S. Embassy Warden & IRS VITA Baguio City RP
Email: raoemo@sbcglobal.net Web: http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/rao1.htm

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