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U.S. EPA, ADEQ, celebrate Tucson Airport $5.5 million soil and groundwater treatment plant


LOS ANGELES – Federal, state, and city officials celebrate the completion of Tucson International Airport’s $5.5 million soil and groundwater treatment facility, greatly benefiting the nearly one million residents in the Tucson metropolitan area.

Joining today’s event are Keith Takata, director of the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Superfund program; Susan Keith of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality; Richard F. Imwalle and Bonnie Allin, Tucson Airport Authority; and Tucson Mayor Robert Walkup.

“This plant demonstrates our ongoing commitment to reducing risks to human health and the environment from contaminated groundwater at the Tucson International Airport Three Hangars Area,” said Keith Takata. “We will continue our multi year effort to cleanup the remaining portions of the Tucson Airport Superfund Site.”

“This is an important next step in cleaning up the groundwater in this area of Tucson,” Director Owens said. ”This clean up has been going on a long time and it’s important that it go forward.”

Highlights of the Tucson Airport $5.5 million soil and groundwater treatment plant include
- The installation of eleven new groundwater extraction well
- Seven new soil vapor extraction wells;
- One new well to reinject treated water into the aquifer;
- Groundwater is treated using an air stripper;
- Soil vapors are treated using granular activated carbon;
- Expected flow of groundwater treatment at 65 gallons per minute, and soil vapor extraction at 1,200 cubic feet per minute;
- The exhaust stream from the air stripper will also be treated to minimize any discharges to the outside air
- The Tucson Airport soil and groundwater plant was built pursuant to a February 2000 Consent Decree.

Starting in 1942, the Airport Three Hangars Area was occupied by defense contractors who disposed of volatile organic compounds on site, including trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and benzene – chemicals that may cause damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

In 1983, the EPA declared the Tucson International Airport Area a Superfund site and subsequent sampling identified groundwater contamination. Drinking water wells and private household wells have been shut down as a result of the contamination.

The EPA’s Superfund program identifies, investigates and cleans up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites throughout the United States. For more information, please visit:


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