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8/22/2013 6:00:00 AM
World War II site in Kingman enters second cleanup phase

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Residents living on the footprint of the Kingman Army Air Base's gunnery range can breathe a little easier.

The federal government has fully funded the cleanup of 42 additional parcels in the Tommie Drive area, representatives from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced at a public meeting Tuesday night.

The cleanup is due to the materials in the clay pigeons that were used at the 75-acre skeet shooting range at the base, said District Project Manager Fran Firouzi.

In 2010, the Corps tested the soil for various contaminants and found high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from the pigeons on a total of 52 parcels located on Tommie Drive and Lass, East Snavely, Thompson, Lum, Ryan, Hearne, Devlin, Shaeffer, John L and Northfield avenues.

Long-term health studies have linked PAHs to various cancers, she said.

The Corps finished cleaning up 10 properties in the areas of Tommie Drive and Hearne Avenue in April.

Firouzi said the Corps relocation expert Susan Hill should be contacting residents in the area in the next few days to set them up in local hotels while their properties are cleaned up and start the cleanup of the next 10 properties.

The Corps hopes to get started on the project before the end of September and finish before Thanksgiving. It typically takes between three and four weeks to clean up a property, she said.

The Corps will then take a break over the holidays and start the third phase of the cleanup in January. The project should be finished by May, she said.

But before cleanup on the properties can start, the Corps needs permission from the property owners to access the parcels, Firouzi said. Property owners have the right to refuse to grant permission to the Corps.

However, if a resident refuses to allow the Corps access to clean up their property, then the resident is responsible for disclosing that the property could be contaminated to future buyers, Firouzi said.

Once a property owner gives the Corps permission to clean up their parcel, the Corps' contractor will walk the property with the owner and take pictures, she said.

During the cleanup, the Corps will remove all of the landscaping, rocks and movable items, such as RVs, and store them in a secure location. Then, contractors will remove the top two feet of soil from each property and replace it with clean soil. The soil under homes, garages and other permanent structures will not be removed, Firouzi said. The contaminated soil is then trucked to the La Paz Landfill in Parker.

While the work is going on, the Corps will pay for residents to stay in local hotels and their pets to stay in a kennel, she said. The residents also get a daily allowance to help with food and other necessities. Residents will also be reimbursed for any water or electricity the contractor uses during the cleanup.

Residents will not be allowed to go back to their homes until the work is finished, Firouzi said. The properties will be screened from the road during the work and a guard will be hired to provide security.

Once the work is done, the Corps will put back everything that they removed from the property and fix or replace any items - such as sprinkler lines - that may have been dug up or broken in the cleanup process, she said. In some cases, the contractor has even pumped out septic tanks, she said. Residents will then be invited to walk their property again with a representative from the Corps to make sure that everything is put back properly and receive a written report on their property.

If the resident is satisfied with the work, they will be asked to sign off and they can return home, Firouzi said. If they are not satisfied, the Corps will attempt to correct the situation.

For more information on the project, contact Firouzi at (213) 452-3854.

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• Kingman residents return home after soil cleanup

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013
Article comment by: Dannies Joy

A HUGE thank you to the USACE for removing the contaminants from the soil at our property. They did a terrific job all around from removing the contaminants to putting us up in a hotel, providing a per diem for food & other incidentals, returning our plants to their proper place (in tact) to reimbursing for water & electricity used. We are very satisfied. I urge all of you with questions (why 70 years later, cost to taxpayers, etc) to call Fran, her number is in the article.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Diane Lowe

I grew up in area of Tommy & John L in the 60's & 70's. Can't help but to wonder if any of my many health issues during my life may have stemmed from that contaminated dust.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: joker wilde

Seventy years later, Unca Sam wants us to beware of soil "contaminated" by clay piegeons? I'm wondering how much this debacle is costing taxpayers.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: News Junkie

Interesting, but how about the rest of the story? We are curious about what triggered the soil testing, some 70 years later--an individual request, a high incidence of cancer in area residents or ?
Since we live on one of the streets listed and were not contacted for testing, how do we know our soil is safe?
I know you provided the contact information, but I think these questions are of interest to other people who live in the area and are a vital part of this story.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Thank You

Great news that the army is trying to clean this area, local officals seem to have given up.

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