2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Steve@miltoxproj.org
Date: 14 Feb 2002 19:59:23 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Sent by Steve Taylor:


BOSTON, Massachusetts, February 13, 2002 (ENS) - Science developed by 
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is helping to clean up contaminated 
groundwater in the Cape Cod aquifer. 

Since 1911, activities by numerous occupants at what is now known as the 
Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) have contaminated billions of 
gallons of ground water in the Cape Cod aquifer with fuels, solvents, 
treated sewage, landfill leachate and explosive compounds from 
ordinance. Groundwater is the only source of drinking water for the 
residents of Cape Cod. 

USGS research hydrologist Denis LeBlanc will describe the scientific, 
engineering and political challenges of this massive and expensive 
cleanup this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston. 

"The long history, variety of compounds, permeable soils, and sheer size 
of the problem have made this an ideal field laboratory for learning 
about the transport of contaminants and how to clean them up," said 
LeBlanc. "What we learned at the MMR has been successfully applied at 
cleanup sites around the world, in some cases by scientists not involved 
in the work at the MMR." 

Defense Department contractors and the USGS have done intensive drilling 
and sampling of the site since 1978, discovering more than 15 
contaminant plumes, some moving as fast as several feet per day. The 
investigation and cleanup of the plumes by the military will cost more 
than $1 billion when completed. 

"A project of this scope, complexity, cost, and importance to the public 
requires action based on sound scientific information," said LeBlanc. 
"Reliable and unbiased information on the hydrogeology of the Cape Cod 
aquifer has been essential to the development and implementation of a 
successful, publicly acceptable cleanup strategy." 

Armed with information on the location, size and rate of movement for 
the plumes, the scientists were able to construct computer models and 
design a strategy to contain and clean up the contamination. The plan 
minimizes changes in water levels that could harm the environment. 

At the end of 2001, treatment systems at eight plumes were pumping 
almost 12 million gallons per day and returning the treated water to the 

The USGS's Cape Cod work is part of the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology 
Program, which provides scientific information on the behavior of toxic 
substances in the nation's water environments. The information is used 
to improve characterization and management of contaminated sites, to 
protect human and environmental health, and to reduce potential future 
contamination problems. 

More information on the Toxics Program is available at: 

Steve Taylor
National Organizer
Military Toxics Project
(207) 783-5091 (phone)
(207) 783-5096 (fax)
P.O. Box 558
Lewiston, ME  04243-0558

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