EMD tests dirt, groundwater in housing areas

17 Jul 2002 | Cpl. Zachary A. Crawford

The Environmental Management Division will conduct soil and groundwater sampling at many of the housing units within Tarawa Terrace and Paradise Point here.

Officials and civilian contractors will begin the work July 22.

The sampling is part of a program initiated by EMD and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The NCDENR made this a requirement as a follow-up project to the previous oil tank removal efforts done in the housing areas.

Atlanta native Nikki Hall, an environmental engineer with the Environmental Quality Branch, said this is part of EMD's normal job.

"The homes in the housing areas used to be heated by the use of heating oil tanks which were stored underground along the sides of the houses. Each of these tanks could hold 500-gallons of heating oil, and now that technology has come a long way, home heating oil use is unnecessary.  So now, (EMD) decided to remove them," said Hall. "It is EMD's responsibility to manage the clean-up sites and make sure everything is going well. We are the direct liaison between the base and the state. In this case, people should know there is not a problem in the housing areas and there have been no complaints from the residents about contamination. We just want to let everyone know that we'll be out there working and the people who live there should know what we're doing. We do this same kind of thing wherever and whenever any type of underground storage tank is removed. We do tests on the sites just to make sure there is no contamination."

Hall said these soil and ground water samples are required in order to ensure EMD removed all of the subsurface petroleum contamination. She explained in order to do so, EMD will install temporary monitoring wells in the former tank locations.

After the testing is complete, Hall said results of the sampling will be summarized in reports and submitted to NCDENR.

"If contamination is detected, EMD will formulate a clean-up plan as dictated by the guidelines established by NCDENR," she said.

Hall explained she wants to ensure the Marines and Sailors that EMD and the contractors will conduct their work during regular working hours and every effort will be made to minimize the noise and other problems around the work areas.