2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 23 Dec 2002 22:05:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Tests expand at Superfund cleanup site
Published Monday
December 23, 2002
Tests expand at Superfund cleanup site

With good reason, the federal government is planning additional tests at
a large environmental cleanup west of Omaha.

They hope to learn two things: How widespread is a recently discovered
spike in contamination on the west side of the 24-square-mile site?

And what is the status of contamination on the easternmost part of the
site, nearest where the Metropolitan Utilities District plans to draw
water for Omaha?

The answers matter because the state's two largest cities draw or will
be drawing their water from this area of the Platte River aquifer.
Omaha's new wells will be due east, across from the contamination.
Lincoln's are due south, directly in the path of the pollutants.

The testing can be done none too soon for those dissatisfied with the
cleanup's progress and MUD's plans to build a new well field and
water-treatment plant.

"The contamination is much deeper than they knew; it's much longer than
they knew," Dorothy Lanphier said.

A Sierra Club member, Lanphier has been following the cleanup for
several years. "It calls into question any decision they've made."

Lanphier is not alone. Saunders County officials and adjacent landowners
have expressed worries about the cleanup and MUD's plans.

Representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the
cleanup, said the project is under control.

The unexpected is expected in a job like this, said Ed Louis, project
manager. It's the corps' job to adjust.

"I don't mean to sound flippant, but we don't know what we don't know,"
Louis said. "It's the nature of environmental work that you can't know

Tom Wurtz, general manager for MUD, said worries about any interaction
between MUD's wells and the contaminated water are overblown.

"These are not real problems," Wurtz said. "This is just a last-ditch
effort by the opponents to stop it."

The corps is running the cleanup because the contamination was caused by
military operations during World War II and the Korean War.

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