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Arsenal poses no health threat

By Mike SeverRecord-Courier staff writer Published: August 25, 1997 12:00 AM

"No surprises, not yet, which is really good," said Tim Morgan, Army resource manager for the former ordnance facility. "And the big thing is we didn't find any evidence of anything moving off the base."

Results of the first round of tests will be explained at a public meeting 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Ravenna High School auditorium. A copy of the Army Corps of Engineers' report is available for public review at Reed Public Library in Ravenna.

Tests were done in July last year for 11 high priority sites around the 21,419-acre complex. A preliminary environmental investigation found 38 possible sites of contamination. The remaining 27 sites will be tested as funding allows, Morgan said.

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"We hit what we considered all the hotspots at the time. We have some other sites that were not evaluated. We had no past test data on them at all," Morgan said. The Army sampled those areas and came up with a couple more high priority sites, he said.

The plant was built in the 1940s to assemble and store munitions during World War II.

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Primary contaminants include explosive such as TNT, heavy metals such as lead, chromium and mercury were found, as expected around the load lines, Morgan said.

No explosives were found in groundwater tests from monitoring wells, Morgan said. Metals were detected in groundwater of some load lines, but more testing is needed to see if it is naturally occurring. Small quantities of some organics were detected in groundwater at one load line well, Morgan said.

"This is just the first phase. We're not done testing at these sites," he said.

Cost of the cleanup was estimated at $163 million last year and arsenal officials said then it could take more than 10 years. The Army has spent $1.2 million on testing to date, Morgan said.

How much acreage will be involved in the cleanup is undetermined.

"That will be determined in phase two" as testing continues, Morgan said. "If we find that this stuff's not moving; and it looks like they're not _ they're adhering to the soils _ that's a good sign."

Morgan could not estimate how long it will be before cleanup begins.

"Phase two testing is needed before we begin formulating clean-up

strategies. Phase one will be going on in some sites while cleanup is

going on in other areas," he said. "It could be two to five years before

dirt is moved. If we had contamination going off-site and really

horrible conditions, we'd be a higher priority," he said.

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