2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 Jan 2003 22:17:41 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
This is an editorial in response to an article below. This is an
Excerpt, and you have to pay for the full story:

staff writer
 January 2, 2003; Page c1
 Section: Clark County/region
 Article ID: 2003002019 -- 468 words
A plume of groundwater at CampBonneville contains a toxic residue from
rocket fuel that's at the center of a debate in the federal government
over safety levels. Ammonium perchlorate
 interferes with the thyroid gland, which can lead toGraves' disease or
formation of tumors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. The EPA and the Pentagon can't agree on a safe level of
perchlorate in groundwater, delaying establishment of a national
standard for drinking

People who want the entire article and/or editorial will have to pay. To

find them, go to
http://www.columbian.com/archives/index.html and conduct a 2003 search
for "perchlorate."


Article that the above editorial  is in response to:
_From The Columbian - Clark County/region
Published: 01/05/2003
Page: c6

OPINION: IN OUR VIEW -- SURPLUS PROBLEMS: Groundwater contamination
complicates Camp Bonneville's prospects

Byline: Columbian editorial writers

When the Pentagon in 1995 added Camp Bonneville to the list of military
facilities slated for closure, local officials reacted with glee that a
3,800-acre chunk of mostly undeveloped land in the heart of Clark County

was about to be given away.

Eight years later, nothing has changed hands. And the potential
public asset has begun to look more and more like an expensive

The latest bad news is the confirmation that a toxic chemical,
ammonium perchlorate, has contaminated the groundwater beneath the
former military training site. That's certain to complicate the process
of turning Camp Bonneville over to the county for eventual use as a
regional park.

As The Columbian's Erin Middlewood reported last week, the chemical,
a component of solid rocket fuel, has been detected in preliminary
groundwater tests at Camp Bonneville at levels ranging from 13 to 199
parts per billion. That's lower than the Department of Defense's
suggested limit of 200 parts per billion but many times the 1 part per
billion that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes is
actually safe.

So far, no contamination has been detected in drinking water wells
surrounding the camp, but if and when it does show up, the ramifications

could be serious. Despite the disagreement between Pentagon and EPA
officials over safe levels of the chemical, scientists have known since
the 1950s that ammonium perchlorate blocks the absorption of iodine in
the human thyroid gland, which can cause tumors and disease,
particularly in fetuses and children.

Army officials say they plan to remove a landfill thought to be the
source of the chemical. But cleanup of groundwater after it has been
contaminated is notoriously difficult. Even in surface waters, ammonium
perchlorate is proving to be a stubborn problem: One plume of the toxin
that has contaminated drinking water and irrigation supplies in the Los
Angeles basin was found to have originated more than 400 miles up the
Colorado River, at a munitions plant above Hoover Dam. "It will probably

take decades for the dilution effect to flush it all out," Douglas
Zimmerman, an environmental regulator in Nevada, told The Wall Street
Journal last month.

The Pentagon is paying for some, but not all, of the ammonium
perchlorate decontamination across the nation. Certainly the work to
remove the chemical from Camp Bonneville, like steps to take away
unexploded ordnance and other hazards, must fall primarily to the
Defense Department. Although Army officials say the landfill was used by

local law enforcement over the years for fireworks disposal, the
disassembly of rocket motors by the Air Force at the site is probably
the primary cause of the contamination.

Camp Bonneville is still an asset worth pursing  but not one worth
accepting in a hazardous condition.

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