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Air Force Plant PJKS

This site is one of the "Superfund" hazardous waste sites in Colorado. A site qualifies for the National Priorities List (NPL or Superfund list) when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines there is a release or threatened release of hazardous substances that may endanger public health, welfare or the environment.

 

The investigation and cleanup of environmental impacts associated with this site are being conducted in accordance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Compliance Order on Consent 98-10-08-01 (Consent Order) between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the United States Air Force (Air Force). While the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is the lead agency for remediation of the site, the EPA Superfund Program provides technical support and input on all remediation related activities to ensure the objectives of the Superfund program are met.

 

 

 

Location

This 464-acre site is located within the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company property in Jefferson County. The property is approximately 5 miles south of Deer Creek Canyon Road and the junction of Highway 75 and S. Wadsworth Blvd. The surrounding area is rural, with predominately farming and ranching facilities. However, recent residential developments have encroached to within several miles of the facility. Major recreation areas are located nearby at Chatfield Reservoir/Roxbury State Park / Waterton Canyon. Brush Creek runs though the PJKS site.

 

History

The Air Force used the PJKS facility from 1957 to 1968 as the main test facility for Titan missile activities, including missile assembly, engine testing, and research and development. Fuel development, purification and testing have also taken place on-site. Smaller engines and related apparatus have been tested since 1968. Fuel purification and research and development work are still conducted on-site. The site was placed on the list of Superfund sites in November 1989. The RCRA Consent Order between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Air Force was signed in December 1998. The Air Force and General Services Administration completed the sale of Air Force Plant PJKS to the facility operator, Lockheed Martin Corporation, in 2001. The Air Force remains the principal party responsible for clean-up activities at the PJKS site and is committed to completing clean-up of the site in a timely fashion.

 

 

Chemicals

Contaminants at PJKS include cleaning solvents (e.g., trichloroethylene), rocket fuel components (nitrosamines), fuel oil and other hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and inorganics. Contamination resulted from accidental spills and past waste disposal practices.

 

Exposure

The contaminants are found in groundwater, surface water and soils. Monitoring wells have detected trichloroethylene, other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Freon and n-Nitrosdimethylamine (NDMA) in the groundwater. Organic contamination plumes have been identified in multiple groundwater zones.  Some of the plumes have moved off PJKS to merge with contaminants originating on Lockheed Martin Space Systems property. Areas of soil contamination (primarily polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs) have also been identified at the PJKS site and some highly contaminated soil has already been removed from the site to reduce exposures.

 

The Air Force conducted environmental investigations to address known or potential environmental contamination at six Operable Units (OUs) (including 56 specific locations) that are identified in the Consent Order and Superfund documentation. During the investigations, each location was tested to determine the nature and extent of soil and groundwater contamination. The Air Force has submitted the investigation findings to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and EPA via summary reports, including the Supplemental Remedial Investigation (SRI) Report in 1999. Agency review of these documents is complete. As of the summer of 2005, the Air Force has completed additional investigations to fill all of the data gaps identified during review of the SRI and/or other investigation reports. The results of the investigations were used to support cleanup decisions of No Further Action Required for 37 of the specific Solid Waste Management Units in the four "soil related" Operating Units (OU1, OU2, OU3 and OU6) at PJKS. Copies of the investigation reports, the SRI Report and all follow-on investigation work plans and reports are available at the Columbine Public Library, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and EPA.

 

Much progress has been made regarding clean-up decisions for the operable units and specific locations at PJKS. An Interim Action to remove PCB contaminated soil from the Upper Volcano and the Lower Volcano within OU2 was completed in 2000 and a cleanup decision of No Further Action Required was made for these units in January 2003. Upon completion of the investigation activities at the four "soil related" Operating Units (OU1, OU2, OU3 and OU6) at PJKS, the Air Force conducted an Interim Action in the fall of 2005 to remove, or stabilize in place, areas where the soil was contaminated with PCBs at concentrations above industrial cleanup standards.

 

An Interim Action/Final Action of complete excavation and off-site disposal has been selected for the D-1 Landfill in OU3 to address the surface and subsurface soil contamination known to be present at the unit. The contamination at the D-1 Landfill is not considered an immediate threat to human health since the concentrations of chemicals in the surface soil do not represent an acute health threat and the unit is located in an isolated portion of PJKS. The D-1 Landfill has a high profile with the general public because small quantities of radioactive waste were buried there in 1971. The radioactive waste consisted of two half-full drums of scrap metal alloy containing 98 percent magnesium and 2 percent thorium and a total of 55.5 micro curies of radioactivity. The drums were located and removed from the D-1 Landfill in 1986, scanned to verify they were not contaminated after excavation, and shipped to a commercial low-level radioactive disposal site in Beatty, Nevada. The radiation levels in the two drums at the time they were removed were at background levels. This is the only known or suspected instance of radioactive material disposal at the PJKS site.

 

A cleanup decision of No Further Action Required has been made for the Waste Propellant Storage Unit and the Leak Detection Drain Line (BC-79) in OU1, the Decontamination Trailer Tank Spill Area in OU2 and the Open Burning/Open Detonation Unit in OU6. A cleanup decision of implementing enforceable institutional controls was made in December 2004 for the T-8A Containment Pond in OU2. Additional investigations and remedial bench-scale and field-scale pilot tests are underway to collect data to support a clean-up decision for the Lariat Gulch Groundwater Plume (OU4) and for the East Fork Brush Creek Groundwater Plume and the West Fork Brush Creek Groundwater Plume (OU5). A corrective measures study/feasibility study to evaluate and propose remedies for the groundwater units is expected to be performed in the spring of 2008. A final cleanup decision for the groundwater units is expected soon. Groundwater monitoring activities at the site continue to be performed on a regular basis.

 

David Walker, State Project Manager
303-692-3354 

 

Jeannine Natterman, State Community Involvement Coordinator
303-692-3303
888-569-1831 Ext. 3303 toll-free outside the 303/720 area code

 

David Rathke, EPA Remedial Project Manager
303-312-6016
800-227-8917 Ext. 6016 (Toll-free)