CLEARFIELD -- Groundwater contamination is not causing any problems for Clearfield residents, according to continuing studies being done by the base.
Shannon Smith, from the Hill Air Force Base environmental restoration directorate, updated the city council about the indoor sampling program and groundwater contamination recently during a regularly meeting.
A number of communities surrounding HAFB have contaminated areas of groundwater -- not drinking water -- from chemicals historically disposed of on base, according to a base report. The Clearfield contamination generally consists of shallow trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene, plus a deeper trichloroethene plume.
Both chemicals were used as chlorinated solvents in vehicle and munitions maintenance from the end of World War II to the 1960s, according to the report. The base has been monitoring those plumes to see if they are spreading.
The report notes that in most cases there is no threat of exposure to the chemicals by contact with groundwater because it is not used as a drinking water supply.
However, the base monitors indoor air samples to ensure chemical vapors are not evaporating into the homes from the groundwater.
There are 142 affected acres in Clearfield, with 300 to 350 homes in the area. According to the base report, the plumes continue to be stable.
In 2012, there will be 37 homes sampled. That is down from the 48 sampled in 2011. There have been 168 sampled since 2003.
City Manager Adam Lenhard said that every year those residents in the affected areas get a letter from the base, giving them the chance to have monitoring equipment installed to check for concerns.
"Many residents don't choose to have that done, but some do," he said, noting that only one home had any concern and that was found to be an in-home source and not related to the plume.
"That is good news," he said.
The base is working on a treatability plan that includes hybrid poplar trees planted near the base boundary and Universal Rent-All property. The plan was started in 2009. By July 2013, the hope is to develop a feasibility study evaluating cleanup options and to choose one by February 2014, according to the report presented at the council meeting.
Lenhard said it's good the base is making the effort to monitor the plumes and remedy any problems.
"We are very appreciative of the base's continuing efforts to monitor the plumes and the ground water," he said. "We are always extremely concerned with the health and safety of our residents. That is a priority."
He added that these tests help ensure that the plumes are monitored and any potential effects identified.
"We are glad they are taking care of these issues appropriately."