A zero dust management policy has been in effect for all of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) contaminated cleanup projects since the remediation effort began in 1996. Cleanup projects are consistently treated with water to ensure dust does not affect employees and our neighbors. Now, with many projects completed, the site is entering a new chapter in its environmental cleanup program.
Dust Management Policy Modifications
The selected remedy for many cleanup projects at the Arsenal is to excavate the waste or contamination and transfer it to an on-site landfill or an on-site disposal basin. A few of the remaining projects at the RMA consist of leaving the waste in place and constructing a protective cap over the project. In order to build protective caps over these areas, approximately 4.3 million cubic yards of clean soil from RMA will be excavated and placed over the project sites. Once this is completed, the caps will be re-seeded with native grasses and shrubs. To ensure re-seeding is successful, the soil used for the caps needs to be dry and loose. Taking this new phase of cleanup into account, regulatory agencies and RMA engineers will be modifying the zero dust policy. The new policy will apply only to the clean soil used to fill excavated areas before caps are constructed as well as the soil needed for cap construction. Cleanup projects that are excavating contaminated material will continue to be managed to the zero dust policy standards.
The modifications to the dust policy include taking into consideration Colorado’s spring weather and potential wind and dust storms. With large amounts of clean soil exposed, there could be times when dust may be present at RMA. Water will not be applied to clean soils under these conditions in support of the goal of placing dry, loose soil for cap construction. Therefore, only minimal dust suppression efforts will be taken for clean areas under the revised dust management plan.
The new dust management policy is expected to be approved and ready for implementation by the summer of 2003. Once in place, RMA neighbors will see very little difference in day-to-day operations. While the amount of dust from the construction of the cap areas may increase during a strong windstorm, very little, if any, dust will be visible on a typical day.
Considering these modifications, RMA has a plan in place to modify construction activities if dust is traveling too close to the fence line perimeter. These modifications include lowering traffic speeds or spraying haul roads with water. If dust approaches the fence line, dust control efforts will increase up to and including stopping work until conditions improve. Neighbors can rest assured that if they see dust, it does not come from contaminated areas, which will be managed as diligently as ever to our standard zero dust policy.
RMA is located adjacent to Commerce City, Colorado, approximately 10 miles northeast of downtown Denver. In 1942, at the height of World War II, the Army purchased 17,000 acres of land on which to manufacture chemical weapons, such as mustard and white phosphorus. Private industry was encouraged to lease facilities at RMA after the war to foster economic growth in the area, offset operational costs and maintain facilities for national security. Under the lease program, Julius Hyman and Company began producing pesticides in 1946. In 1952, Shell acquired Julius Hyman and Company and continued to produce agricultural pesticides on site until 1982. Common industrial and waste disposal practices used during these years resulted in contamination of structures, soil, surface water, sediment and groundwater.
Beginning in 1974, 14 Interim Response Actions were designed and implemented to protect off-site human health and environment from RMA pollution. In 1984, the Army began a systematic investigation of site contamination in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, and the site was placed on the National Priorities List in 1987. As required by CERCLA, a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study was conducted to determine the nature and extent of contamination and develop and evaluate remedial alternatives. Since 1985, the mission at RMA has been the remediation of site contamination and transition to the country’s premier, urban wildlife refuge.
The dust management modifications to clean areas at RMA were presented to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Restoration Advisory Board on February 27, 2003 to gather public input and comments on this change in policy.
For more information, please contact:
• Remediation Venture Public Relations Office Rocky Mountain Arsenal
Commerce City, Colorado 80022
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Remedial Project Manager
• Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
State Project Officer
• Joint Administrative Record and Document Facility (JARDF)
Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Building 129 Monday Friday 12 4 p.m.
Commerce City, Colorado 80022