Extension Sought In Salina Contamination Case
Associated Press - Tue 04:24 AM 11/27/2012
Officials from Salina and the federal government want more time to finalize a proposed financial settlement for cleaning up contamination at a former Air Force base.
Lawyers for the city and the Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to set a February 13 deadline for final approval of the proposed settlement. The previous deadline was Tuesday.
Officials from the city of Salina, the Salina Airport Authority, the Salina school district and Kansas State University-Salina filed a federal lawsuit in 2010. It seeks to expedite the cleanup of soil and groundwater polluted decades ago with an industrial degreaser at the former Schilling Air Force Base.
The Salina groups have been working for years to get the Defense Department to pay to clean up pollutants left behind during its 24 years of operating the former base.
At issue is contamination, things like solvents that have seeped into the ground, left behind when the Air Force vacated the former Schilling Air Force Base facility back in the late 1960s. The area is now the Salina Airport Industrial Area.
Contamination includes both liquid and vapor.
The main concern is two large underground plumes of contamination, one in the north part of the Airport Industrial Area, and another on the south end. A large plume of the solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, is in the groundwater and soil. TCE at the time was used as an industrial solvent and has since been classified as a human carcinogen.
The plaintiffs contend that the federal government should pay for the cleanup because the chemicals came from the Air Force operation at the site.
Schilling Air Force base closed in the 1960s, then became part of the city and home to the Salina airport.