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District helps clean up Papago Park Military Reservation

Published Nov. 5, 2012

PHOENIX--The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District began clean up operations Oct. 24 of the remnants from a decades-old underground fuel tank at Papago Park Military Reservation.

In 1988, three 2,000-gallon underground storage tanks containing gas and diesel fuel were removed from PPMR in an area near Bldg. 331.   Based on the lab results from soil samples taken at the site, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality determined that fuel had been released from the USTs.  Following ADEQ’s determination, members of the Arizona Army National Guard provided contractor oversight to clean up the fuel release. 

Activities conducted as part of the cleanup included installing soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells; obtaining soil and groundwater samples; determining the extent of impacted soil and groundwater; and determining the best method to remove and clean impacted soil and groundwater at the site.  Based on this work, AZARNG determined that the most efficient method to remediate soil and groundwater at the site was to construct, operate and monitor a dual-phase soil vapor extraction system.

The dual-phase SVE system is designed, based on site conditions, as a network of wells using vacuum pressure to remove hydrocarbon vapors from the ground while pumping out contaminated groundwater.  Around 2008, the system was constructed at the site and began initial removal of vapors and contaminated groundwater. 

“Unfortunately due to budget constraints, no money was originally budgeted for operation and maintenance, the system was turned off until a reliable funding source could be obtained,” said Joellen Meitl, remediation program manager at PPMR. AZANG received funding from Army Environmental Command for the system restart and O&M.  “We determined that the Army Corps of Engineers could provide the expertise and contractor support to aid AZARNG with this environmental remediation project.”

Once the AZARNG contacted the Corps for support, the LA District contracted with Oneida Total Integrated Enterprises to provide support, restart the SVE system, provide quarterly groundwater monitoring and prepare required documents to ADEQ.

“It was important that we got moving on this as soon as we could,” said Jesse Laurie, the project manager for the Corps. “The facility (PPMR) was in danger of receiving a violation notice and fines from ADEQ if this project was delayed any longer. We got a new team together and have gotten the project back on track and put the facility back in compliance.”  

Laurie said the Corps awarded the contract modification to rehabilitate the system on Sept. 30. 

“The praise for such a quick execution of the restart really belongs with the Technical Engineering Support Branch, especially Diane Clark who is the COR (contract representative) for the project,” he continued. “We are very fortunate to have a contractor who is working as an integral part of the team.”

OTIE made repairs to the system that had already been installed and began operations with the dual-phase extraction system on Oct. 24. They began extracting “product,” or gasoline, from five of the six wells in the project area. The sixth well does not have any measureable contamination.

“We’ve gotten about two gallons of product out of the ground,” said Mike Berman, a senior engineer and project manager for OTIE toward the end of the first day of extraction. “We’re expecting to extract about six gallons a day during full operations.”

Berman said there is no way to know how long the project will take, since he can’t be sure how much product is underground. Meitl said the project has moved along well since the Corps got involved.

“It’s been very easy to work with the Corps,” she said. “They’ve taken care of all the legwork and let me focus on my other projects here.”

The contract for the work is scheduled for two years. Laurie said he is looking forward to working with the team to complete the project.

“The goal of this project is to clean the groundwater at the site to the levels agreed upon by the state as described in the approved Corrective Action Plan for this site,” he said. “Achieving that goal is one more way the Corps of Engineers is working to take care of the people of Arizona by improving the environment.”