Military engineers are continuing to survey contaminated sites at the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station and develop remediation plans.
At a public meeting Wednesday, representatives of the Navy and the Air Force discussed progress made so far. The quarterly meetings are intended to give the public a chance to raise questions or concerns. But no members of the general public attended.
A small chunk of the base is still in use by the Air Force, and another parcel was transferred to the FAA to support flight-control operations for Philadelphia International Airport. The township of Horsham has organized a board to develop a multimillion-dollar residential-retail-office complex on the remaining 862 acres – once they are deemed clean and safe.
Here are the highlights (which may be indecipherable to those of us who aren’t environmental engineers):
- A Navy survey identified 18 sites that may have radiation damage. The results of the survey are currently under regulatory review. By this summer or fall, they expect to develop a management plan and begin surface scans and subsurface soil sampling.
- At Site 5 – the former fire training area near Horsham Road and Precision Road, where the board hopes to build a golf course and office park – solvent levels are declining. Engineers are using a process called “bioremediation,” in which lactose and lactoil are injected into the ground. They gradually cause the solvents to degrade.
- At Site 12 – a former landfill where the board hopes to locate the town center, offices open space and apartments – wells are in place to continually monitor levels of arsenic chromium, PAH, PCB and dioxins in the soil and groundwater. A remedial investigation is under regulatory review.