YUTAN, Neb. — The cleanup of contaminated soil at the former Nebraska Ordnance Plant is complete, but the removal and treatment of polluted groundwater at the old munitions site could take up to 120 more years, officials said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers disclosed the end of the dirt work at the plant near Mead at a public meeting Wednesday night in Yutan.
“At this point, there is no risk to human health and the environment. It's within the acceptable risk range,” project manager Kristine Stein said.
Any soil contamination that remains is within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, Stein said.
However, the groundwater work that's been under way for 10 years will take far, far longer to complete: up to 120 more years, she said.
The corps has found four contaminated groundwater plumes, each two or three miles long and up to a half-mile wide. The water is being removed through 16 wells and is pumped to four treatment plants. Several hundred monitoring wells track the plumes.
The corps began a preliminary investigation of contaminated soil and groundwater at the nearly 27-square-mile site in 1991.
The dirt and groundwater were contaminated with the explosive compounds and toxic solvents used in the production of bombs and other munitions for the U.S. and its allies in World War II and the Korean War.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln owns about half of the land, while some of it is used by the U.S. Army Reserves and Nebraska National Guard and some is privately owned.
Corps representatives said nearly 1,600 tons of contaminated soil was removed and replaced from the last parcels in the project.
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