2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 Dec 2003 22:37:00 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Navy Cleans up Oahu
The following release can be viewed online at:
Navy Cleans up Oahu
Story Number: NNS031202-12
Release Date: 12/2/2003 2:29:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class Daniel J. Calderón, Commander, Navy Region
Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Navy Region Hawaii is using 21st century
science to clean up a 20th century problem – PCBs. By utilizing
state-of-the-art techniques, Navy Region is cleaning up PCB-laced soil
from Navy installations all around Oahu.

“This project is designed to bring in a treatment facility on to the
island, treat the soil, return the treated soil to the point of
excavation and ship the PCB to an EPA-approved facility on the
mainland,” said Peter Nakamura, who is with the Navy Region Hawaii
Environmental Department. “This will greatly reduce the cost of shipping
soil. This project is expected to save the government $10 million in
disposal costs, since we’ll only have to ship a concentrated percentage
of the total volume of the soil.”

The plan is to remove 26,000 cubic yards of soil from 100 sites from
central and leeward Oahu. The sites were contaminated by PCBs. The PCBs
were a product of electric transformers.

The transformers were in wide use around the country by the military and
by civilians.

After 1977, PCBs were phased out because they were found to have
potentially harmful effects on humans and the environment. In the
intervening years, transformers on Navy bases containing PCBs have been
replaced with non-PCB transformers or removed.

On Oahu,the Navy has contracted a company to excavate and clean the
sites. Once the soil has been excavated, contractors will cart it to the
site, which is on the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station. There, the
soil will run through a specialized process designed to “bake” the
moisture out of the soil.

“The process separates the vapor and the solid,” said Allen Beaudin,
senior process engineer for Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC).
“We can take 100 tons of soil and get about a half ton of PCB.”

There are three mobile air monitors around the cleanup site. They
monitor the air 24 hours a day and can read .02 micrograms per cubic
meter of dust in the air. However, Beaudin said any dust that might
possibly be released would be purified already since it will have run
through the heating units.

After beginning Nov. 20, the project is scheduled to be completed by
March 2004. When the project is totally finished, the machine will be
dismantled and transported to whatever site ECC is contracted to clean

Before the project is complete, the soil will return to the point of
origin. Since the process destroys any living organisms while cleaning
the soil, the processed dirt is sterile. As it is put back in the
excavation site, the Navy has agreed to put down a six-inch base of

Eventually, the contaminant-free soil will host microorganisms and
nutrients as it returns to its normal state.

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