Buckley Air Force Base
- The Air Force is responsible for environmental restoration activities at Buckley Air Force Base.
- These activities include identifying, investigating and cleaning up contamination associated with past activities at the facility.
- The Air Force's Environmental Remediation Program (ERP) falls under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP).
- There are two Environmental Remediation Program components:
- Installation Restoration Program (IRP), where hazardous wastes, substances or pollutants, radioactive wastes, and/or petroleum were released.
- Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), where munitions and related contamination were released.
- These programs are consistent with requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986.
- We’re responsible for overseeing the Air Force cleanup program, including asbestos-contaminated soil sites, to ensure compliance with Colorado laws and regulations.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 oversees cleanup activities to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations.
- A Technical Working Group consisting of us, the EPA, the Tri-County Health Department and the city of Aurora meets regularly with the Air Force and its contractors to resolve cleanup issues.
- Other environmental compliance programs regularly inspect the base, including the Department of Labor and Employment Petroleum Storage Tank Remediation Program and the EPA Stormwater Program.
- The base developed a Community Involvement Plan, which was revised in June 2009.
- A key element is the formation of the Community Advisory Group (CAG), which provides a quarterly forum for two-way communication and opportunities to learn more about environmental studies, groundwater contamination issues at the base, and other development activities of general interest to the residents of Aurora.
- The expanded focus of the Community Advisory Group allows for additional discussions about construction, traffic, noise, asbestos and other issues related to activities at Buckley.
- The base produces an annual report to stakeholders describing the status of cleanup activities.
- Community Involvement Plan.
- The Community Advisory Group is co-chaired by the commander of the 460th Space Wing at Buckley and a citizen representative.
- Meetings are typically held in January, April, July (at Buckley) and October of each year.
- If you’re interested in serving as a community member on the Community Advisory Group, contact one of the following:
Buckley Public Affairs Office
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- The Air Force awarded a performance-based contract in June 2008 for work on sites 1, 3, 5, 9 and 10.
- A performance-based contract provides the contractor considerable flexibility in how to achieve specific cleanup end states identified by the Air Force, and will allow a single contractor to conduct multiple phases at several sites more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Status of current Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites (sites 1-4)
Site 1 (FT001/Fire Training Area No. 2)
- This former fire training area was used from 1950 through 1972.
- Six environmental investigations were conducted at Site 1 between 1982 and 2006.
- This site is contaminated with the cleaning solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater.
- In 2010, a Record of Decision (ROD) was prepared which identified the selected remedy as long-term monitoring with land use controls.
- Prior to signing, we requested the completion of a title search and Notice of Environmental Use Restrictions (RN).
- Meanwhile, two new monitoring wells were installed and a round of groundwater sampling was completed. Results in a 2011 report indicated TCE concentrations had increased and the plume extended beyond the original site boundary. Therefore, the ROD was put on hold until further investigation could be completed.
- Two new groundwater monitoring wells were installed in late 2010 to substantiate the land use controls boundary and complete the restrictive notice.
- This additional sampling identified TCE exceeding standards at both well locations. Therefore, it’s anticipated additional supplemental characterization of the TCE groundwater plume will be necessary before the Record of Decision can be finalized.
- In 2011, a Performance-Based Remediation (PBR) task order was awarded for the next nine years of work at Site 1.
- In 2012 to 2013, additional investigation was conducted to better define the plume boundary and identify the appropriate remedy.
Site 2 (WP002/Oil Pit)
- Site 2 was a concrete sump used for waste oil disposal from 1950 through 1982.
- Contents of the Oil Pit were excavated and disposed of at a permitted off-base landfill in 1987.
- Subsequent environmental investigations identified no soil or groundwater contamination.
- The May 2010 Final Record of Decision (ROD) for Site 2 and Site 4 (two sites combined) was submitted to us and executed in August 2010.
- Based on current conditions at Site 2, we, the Air Force and EPA have determined no significant risks or threats exist. Therefore, both we and EPA concur with the No Further Action alternative proposed in the final Record of Decision.
Site 3 (LF003/Base Landfill)
- Site 3 is a formerly used base landfill.
- The Air Force submitted the Site 3 Focused Feasibility Study (FFS) in January 2011 and both we and the EPA approved this document in February 2011.
- The focused feasibility study identified four remedial alternatives:
- Landfill 1: No Action.
- Landfill 2: Removal and Disposal.
- Landfill 3: Soil Cover.
- Landfill 4: Soil Cover with Biota Barrier.
- The focused feasibility study identified four remedial alternatives:
Site 4 (FT004/Fire Training Area No. 3)
- Site 4 was a circular area used for fire training exercises from 1972 through 1989.
- Site 4 contaminated soil was excavated and disposed of in a permitted off-base landfill in 2006.
- Subsequent environmental investigations identified no soil or groundwater contamination.
- The May 2010 Final Record of Decision for Site 2 and Site 4 (two sites combined) was submitted to us and executed in August 2010.
- Based on current conditions at Site 4, we, the Air Force and EPA have determined no significant risks or threats exist. Therefore, both we and the EPA concur with the No Further Action alternative proposed in the final Record of Decision.
Status of current Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites (sites 5-9)
(Sites 6 and 8 are closed)
Site 5 (FT005/Fire Training Area No. 1)
- This former fire training area was used from the late 1940s through the early 1950s and consisted of a circular bermed area approximately 100 feet in diameter.
- After its use as a fire training area, Site 5 was also used as a "firing-in" range for the alignment of aircraft guns.
- It currently supports an aircraft engine test facility (i.e., power check pad).
- A Remedial Investigation of Site 5 was conducted in multiple phases from 1988 through 2001.
- Results of these investigations indicate there are no contaminants of concern in groundwater.
- Lead was detected above background concentrations in one sample, and three volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE) and vinyl chloride — were present in soil gas at Site 5.
- Subsequent evaluations indicated the lead in soil didn’t pose a risk to human health or the environment because there’s no building at Site 5 that’s routinely occupied so there’s no unacceptable risk associated with indoor air issues. Both we and EPA concur with the No Further Action alternative at Site 5.
- We and EPA approved the January 2011 Final Proposed Plan and Fact Sheet for Site 5 in January 2011.
Site 7 (DP007/Sludge Drying Beds)
- Site 7, Sludge Drying Beds associated with the former Wastewater Treatment Plant Area, is a small separate parcel of Buckley Air Force Base located approximately 700 feet northwest of the main base boundary.
- The treatment plant operated from 1942 until 1978 and treated residential and light industrial sewage wastes, and occasionally limited quantities of petroleum products, organic solvents, trace metals and pesticides.
- Several environmental studies were conducted from 1982 through 2005.
- A soil removal action was conducted during late 2009 and early 2010, resulting in successful removal of impacted material.
- Results of groundwater quality monitoring, downgradient from the sludge drying beds, found no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exceeding applicable screening criteria.
- As a result of this characterization and removal work, both we and the EPA concurred with the Air Force's proposed No Further Action proposal as the Preferred Remedy for Site 7.
- Environmental issues remain associated with the former outfall of Site 7 to Sand Creek, but these issues will be resolved separately during future Basewide Site Inspection-related work.
- The Site 7 Proposed Plan and Fact Sheet were finalized in October 2010, and we and EPA approved the Site 7 Draft Final Record of Decision in January 2011.
Site 9 (ST009/Waste Oil Tanks)
- Site 9 consists of former Building 903 (boiler house), the former Building 937 (pump house) and four former underground storage tanks (USTs).
- The USTs, each with a capacity of approximately 12,500 gallons, were installed in the 1950s to store oil for fueling the boiler house.
- The initial environmental investigation at Site 9 took place in 1986, before tank excavation and removal.
- All four USTs were removed in 1986, with an unknown quantity of impacted oil.
- An additional environmental investigation was performed in late 1986 involving the sampling and analysis from 11 soil borings.
- Thirteen additional soil borings were drilled and sampled, and four groundwater monitoring wells were installed in 2005 during a Site Inspection.
- We requested investigation of trichloroethene (TCE) detected in one of the groundwater monitoring wells.
- A supplemental Site Inspection was conducted to collect additional total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) soil quality data from the western half of the former UST.
- The potential source of TCE in groundwater at Site 9 will be addressed under the Basewide Site Inspection process.
- We and EPA approved the Site 9 Final Supplemental Site Inspection Report in May 2010 and concurred with the No Further Action proposed remedy for Site 9.
Status of Current Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites (Sites 10 and 11)
Site 10 (SS010/Warehouse Area)
- Site 10 includes a former warehouse area, a former motor pool, a former coal pile, a utility yard and former barracks.
- Based on the results of a Site Inspection conducted in 1997, no further action was required at the utility yard and former barracks.
- It’s believed the former warehouse area was a source of the waste cleaning solvents (primarily perchloroethene, or PCE), present in shallow groundwater and extending northward off base under Sixth Avenue onto city of Aurora property.
- The off-base groundwater contamination has been reduced in concentrations and overall extent, but has not yet achieved Colorado Basic Groundwater Standards.
- Groundwater monitoring and treatability studies are ongoing at Site 10 to ultimately bring the off-base groundwater into compliance with standards.
- At this time, there are no known unacceptable exposure risks associated with the Site 10 PCE groundwater plume, on-base or off-base.
- The former motor pool stored and dispensed gasoline.
- Although not documented at Buckley, it was a common historic Air Force practice to spray coal piles with aviation fuel contaminated with water and/or solvents and lubricants to boost the energy capacity of the coal and reduce associated coal dust.
- These fuels, solvents and lubricants may have also impacted shallow groundwater at Site 10.
- In fall 2005, the Air Force conducted an Interim Remedial Action to address the on-base source area. The action included:
- Reducing and maintaining perchloroethylene (PCE) concentrations in groundwater within the source area to 100 micrograms per liter (ug/l) or less by the end of 2007, and precluding additional perchloroethylene from moving past the base boundary in concentrations above the Colorado Basic Standard for Groundwater of 5 ug/l.
- Excavating into the Denver Formation Bedrock, which included approximately 53,000 cubic yards of soil, disposing of 2,300 cubic yards of hot-spot contaminated soil at Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site and backfilling the rest of the excavated soil, along with materials (mulch, sugar) to augment bioremediation.
- Pumping and treating groundwater from the excavation and discharging it to the storm sewer.
- Installing a 1,500-foot-long air sparge wall at the north base boundary.
Site 11 (SS011/Building 1011)
- Building 1011 at Site 11 consists of former maintenance shops and gun synchronization facilities.
- Elevated levels of lead were found in soil associated with the gun synchronization facilities, and a soil removal action was successfully completed in 2009.
- Cleaning solvents perchloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) exceeding Colorado Basic Groundwater Standards were found in Site 11 groundwater.
- The shallow PCE groundwater plume extends approximately 605 feet on-base and approximately 350 feet off-base beyond the west base boundary and north of East Tollgate Creek.
- We and the EPA approved the February 2011 Final Remedial Investigation Report for Site 11 in March 2011.
- Groundwater monitoring at Site 11 (on-base and off-base) will be ongoing and a feasibility study will be conducted to evaluate various potential remedial alternatives to address the PCE groundwater plume.
- At this time, there are no known unacceptable exposure risks associated with the Site 11 PCE groundwater plume, on-base or off-base.
- However, on-base and off-base PCE concentrations in groundwater exceed Colorado Basic Groundwater Standards.
Basewide site inspection
- A 2007 Preliminary Assessment identified several new areas of concern.
- Twenty-six areas were evaluated via field investigation in late 2008 and in 2009.
- In April 2010, we and EPA approved the March 2010 Final Basewide Site Inspection Report.
- Based on the results of the site inspection fieldwork, five of the areas were designated as "High Priority Areas of Potential Concern," seven were designated as "Medium Priority Areas of Potential Concern" and 14 were designated as "Low Priority Areas of Potential Concern."
- In 2011, a Performance Based Remediation task order was awarded to achieve site closeout at seven CRP sites with possible contamination associated with USTs.
- In 2012, investigations began at six of these sites, which included geophysical surveying, soil sampling, and the removal of USTs at two of the sites. Site Closeout Reports for these six sites were submitted in 2013.
- In 2012 the AF approved a Site Close-out Report for the seventh CRP site in this group since it could be administratively closed.
- In 2011-2012, RI fieldwork at the other 20 CRP sites was conducted, which included extensive groundwater and soil sampling.
- In 2012, a Performance Based Remediation task order was awarded to cover the next eight years of work at these 20 sites.
- Of the 12 sites in the Central Industrial Area, nine sites have been recommended for no further action (NFA) and have proceeded to a Proposed Plan and then Record of Decision to close the sites.
- The other three sites in the Central Industrial Area (Armament and Automotive Area, Aerospace Ground Equipment Shop, and Truck Fueling Area) have proceeded to a Feasibility Study due to fuels and TCE contamination in groundwater.
- Of the eight sites in the East Industrial Area, five sites have been recommended for NFA and have proceeded to a Proposed Plan and then Record Of Decision to close the sites.
- The other three sites in the East Industrial Area (Ordnance Storage Area, Building 924/1624 Former Weapons Maintenance Building Leach Field, and Building 1641 Leach Field) required additional RI fieldwork in 2013 due to initial results identifying perchlorate, TCE and nitrate contamination in groundwater.
- Multiple pilot studies were initiated in 2013 at Central and East Industrial Area sites to reduce contaminant mass and help determine the most appropriate remedy for these sites. Note that in Sep 2013, the site boundaries for the Armament and Automotive Area/Aerospace Ground Equipment Shop and Ordnance Storage Area were changed to coincide with plume boundaries.
Status of Current Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) sites
- Phase I and Phase II Comprehensive Site Evaluation (CSE) activities were performed at Buckley from 2005 to 2008.
- A total of 17 munitions response areas were investigated during the Comprehensive Site Evaluation process.
- Eight of these received an NFA decision at the conclusion of the Comprehensive Site Evaluation Phase I.
- The nine remaining munitions response areas were evaluated during the Comprehensive Site Evaluation Phase II. At the conclusion of Phase II, these munitions response areas were divided into 15 munitions response sites, all but one of which (TS102) was recommended for further evaluation.
- In 2009, an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis for the 14 munitions response sites was finalized and fieldwork was initiated upon signing of the Action Memorandum.
- In 2011, the completed fieldwork included Munitions and Explosives of Concern surface clearance, subsurface Munitions and Explosives of Concern evaluation, and excavation and off-site disposal of lead contaminated soil.
- The After-Action Report recommended a RI for six munitions response sites (SR101, SR101B, MB103, LF105, MB106, MB107).
- The nine other munitions response sites were closed with No Further Action in September 2012.
Administrative Record and Information Repository
Documents used to make decisions about cleanup at Buckley can be found in Division Records Center, and in the Administrative Record and Information Repository at:
Aurora Public Library
Central Library Branch
14949 E. Alameda Parkway
Aurora, CO 80012
9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 12:30-6 p.m. Sunday