2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 3 Mar 2003 15:45:23 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Toxic leak on open space
Toxic leak on open space
Contaminated ground water seeping north from old Beech plant
By Greg Avery, Camera Staff Writer
March 3, 2003

A toxic remnant of the area's military and space program past has
bubbled to the surface on Boulder open space behind a fold in the earth
west of U.S. 36.

A short, red plastic stake rises out of a tree-lined ravine bottom,
marking the spot where ground water contaminated with industrial
solvents running over 15 feet of land was discovered two months ago.

The trickle of water, barely visible through last week's snow, carries
high concentrations of two solvents. It emerges from the ground a
quarter-mile downhill from the former Beech Aircraft and Raytheon Corp.
missile and rocket plant.

'Possible health hazard'

Hiking to the spot across snow-dusted hills Thursday, Glenn Carriere
paused to look at markings in the fresh snow.

"Mountain lion ... a young one. Maybe a yearling," the Boulder open
space supervisor surmised, following the tracks with his eyes across the
snow and mud until they disappeared below another rise.

Nearby, deer tracks dotted the ground, explaining the unseen cat's
interest in the area.

The presence of wildlife on the 73 acres of land just a few hundred
yards from where the busy highway crosses Neva Road is part of the
reason Boulder bought the property in 1997.

Hiking on a little farther, though, Carriere pointed out the new warning
signs open space workers planted in the ground in recent weeks, saying
to keep out and "Possible Health Hazard."

Aftermath of explosives

Since 1995, Raytheon has paid to clean up chemicals left in the soils
from four decades of building, testing and fueling space rockets and
military missiles and testing explosives, including napalm.

In December, the cleanup operation revealed that ground water containing
high concentrations of two industrial solvents and Freon ran deeper than
was previously known and was flowing north of the old plant in areas
previously considered uncontaminated.

The contaminated seep, dribbling about 15 gallons an hour, is not
considered to be a serious health hazard because the water appears to
evaporate and filter back into the earth quickly. Still, the discovery
raises questions about the extent and spread of contamination on the old
plant site, and open space officials aren't taking many chances.

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