2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Nov 2003 16:05:34 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Toxin linked to missile site
Toxin linked to missile site
By Coleman Cornelius
Article Published: Sunday, November 09, 2003

BELLVUE - Discovery of a toxic chemical in underground water at a former
nuclear missile site has spiked concern here and in nearby Greeley and
Fort Collins.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has registered dangerous amounts of
trichloroethylene, or TCE, in Bellvue's groundwater.

The chemical is a solvent and degreaser that commonly was used and
dumped at 13 Atlas E Series missile sites maintained by F.E. Warren Air
Force Base in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska during the early 1960s.
Investigators found TCE at six of those sites, most recently near the
cavernous missile "coffin" outside Bellvue.

TCE, a common industrial cleaning agent, is the same pollutant that has
sparked problems at the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. Drinking
TCE or breathing its chemical vapor may cause health problems, including
headaches, kidney and liver damage, and cancer.

Water samples taken last summer from the ground beneath the Bellvue
site, 10 miles north of Fort Collins, contained TCE at a level 28 times
higher than deemed safe for drinking water, said Jeffery Skog,
investigation project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha.

"We had no idea this was contaminated when we bought this property,"
said Toxey King, 78, who has lived near the Atlas site for 20 years and
has stopped using his well water.

"I'm concerned about it, I really am," said King, who now hauls water
from Fort Collins at least twice a week for household use. "This was
kind of a bombshell dropping."

An underground plume of TCE likely has migrated about one-half mile
south of the Atlas site, Skog said. That estimate is based on TCE
migration at other former missile sites; the pollution might have
traveled farther, he said.

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