Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE
ELLSWORTH AFB, SD

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Announcements and Key Topics

A plume of TCE east of the base has shrunk in size and concentration. It has been largely below the regulatory limit (MCL) of 5 parts per billion for several years. The plume is being evaluated to determine whether concentrations are reliably below the MCL, and not susceptible to rebound. Once it is determined that the TCE is reliably below the regulatory limit, restrictions on domestic use of private wells in that area can be removed. Well owners in this area whom the Air Force has previously supplied with alternate water are already able to petition the Air Force to use groundwater for non-potable use, such as gardening.

The Air Force is proactive in investigating areas where the emerging contaminants known as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) may be present. These contaminants were used primarily in firefighting foams at military bases. They are mobile and persistent in the environment, and health concerns may be raised at concentrations in the parts per trillion range. A remedial investigation is in progress for the former Fire Training Area to determine the nature and extent of PFCs. So far, PFCs have been found in many groundwater and surface water samples collected on base, and in very few surface soil samples collected near the former Fire Training Area on base. Site inspections are planned for 12 other areas on base to see if releases to soil, groundwater and surface water are present. These areas include hangars, spill areas, a water treatment plant outfall, and crash sites. Sample collection will take place in the winter of 2017–2018.

In addition, PFCs were detected in an off-base private domestic-use well located south of the base that is shared by two properties. An alternate water supply was provided in December 2016.

The Air Force has pending investigations for vapor intrusion on base, munitions on base, and low level radioactive waste potentially present in concrete monoliths. A vapor intrusion determination of no further action has already been made for off-base areas where TCE has remained until recently in the groundwater.

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Public Participation Opportunities

Upcoming Restoration Advisory Board meetings are announced on the RAB website.

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Site News Archive

Slides from past Restoration Advisory Board meetings are available on the RAB website.

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