KINGMAN, Ariz. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District team is moving along with its clean-up work at the Formerly Used Defense Site just outside of Kingman, Ariz. which began Apr. 15.
The work being done by the district and its contractor, Eco & Associates, is part of the time-critical removal action for the former skeet range, which is referred to as Munitions Response Site 03 of the former Kingman Ground-to-Ground Gunnery Range. The site covers approximately 75 acres.
The site was used as a skeet range during World War II. World War II-era clay pigeons were constructed with coal tar pitch which contains chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Skeet remnants, or the debris from these particular clay targets, remain in the area. The Corps and the contractor will "abate, prevent, minimize, stabilize, mitigate, or eliminate the release or threat of release” of contaminants according to 40 Code of Federal Regulations 300.415(b) (1).
“Most of the MRS03 – 15 Skeet Ranges site is located in a residential area. Therefore, expedited action to remove the scattered clay pigeon debris and PAH-impacted shallow soil is required,” said Fran Firouzi, the district’s project manager. “The full environmental delineation associated with the site will be completed in upcoming fiscal years.”
The current work focuses on ten of the affected properties in the area. Both The Corps and Eco said the cleanup work is important for the members of the community Firouzi said the primary concerns at this site are the abundant, but scattered, clay pigeon debris and the associated high concentrations of PAHs in the soil.
“Soil samples analyzed during the 2010 site inspection contained PAH concentrations 1,000 times higher than permitted under 2007 Arizona residential risk-based screening levels and 10,000 times higher than the updated 2012 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) residential risk-based screening levels” Firouzi explained. “The surface soils of approximately 52 residential lots have been impacted by skeet fragments and PAHs.”
Rick Lainhart, a civil engineering technician with the District, has been doing similar projects for more than 20 years. He said the project is important to the community and is proud of the Corps’ efforts in Kingman. Lainhart said the District is working with the residents to ensure they are informed and aware of the District’s activities in their neighborhood.
“We try to keep the public informed and to make sure the contractor takes care of their homes and property during the operation,” said Lainhart. “The people that live in the homes that are being cleaned have been kept informed and their concerns are addressed at every step of the process.”
The sites involved in the removal action at the Formerly Used Defense Site were used as skeet ranges during World War II. The area was home to the Kingman Flexible Gunnery School, one of only seven schools of its kind in the U.S. There were 15 skeet ranges located at the gunnery school. The ranges were constructed side-by-side in an overlapping pattern.
The Corps and the contractors involved studied the area extensively before beginning the excavation operation. Quin Kinnebrew, Eco’s senior geologist onsite, said the work is proceeding well.
“As with all construction projects, we have encountered some items that were not anticipated, such as utilities at 6 inches below ground surface and relatively high winds,” he said. “There are contingencies for this, so work continues on after some modification to the original plan. The excavation activities are on schedule.”
While the work is going on, the team members are sensitive to the fact that they are working in a residential neighborhood. Contractors work to mitigate dust in the area by using water spray and there are monitors around each work site to keep tabs on the air quality.
“It’s looking really good,” said Hadi Murad, safety officer for El Capitan, the subcontractor hired by Eco. “Everyone is really working hard and making sure they keep each other safe.”
Murad said the work is fairly delicate, even though there is construction equipment onsite. Workers use the equipment to dig away up to a foot of soil.
“Everything is done in small movements,” explained Murad. “We have to work delicately and take extra care because we are in this residential area.”
The work on the first ten sites is scheduled to be done late in May. During the next phase of the TCRA, the Corps will begin working on the remaining 42 lots. Firouzi said the work being done in Kingman is an example of the District’s commitment to “Building Strong and Taking Care of People.”
“We are here to take care of the people in these communities and build a stronger relationship between them and the Corps of Engineers,” she said. “We want to make sure the people understand that we are here to do all we can to clean up the debris left over from the use of this land during World War II, and we will mitigate the risk to the health of the residents here.”