25 March 2009

Aerojet OBOD Cleanup Meeting Tomorrow

As reported in the Chino Hills Champion last Saturday, members of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control will hold an open house tomorrow night from 5-9 p.m. at the McCoy Equestrian Center in Chino Hills to discuss the department's clearing for unrestricted use of a 14-acre portion of the Aerojet munitions testing facility known as the "open burn open detonation" area.

A department spokesman was quoted as saying that "the OBOD unit was the most heavily impacted area of Aerojet," which is really saying something considering that there was a 40-year period of explosives and chemical agent production and testing at that facility.

This article, written by Marianne Napoles, goes into greater detail than the previous article from a few weeks back (see the earlier blog entry of 4 March) about the level of cleanup involved at the OBOD.

The original cleanup process began in 1994, the year Aerojet ended its use of the OBOD site, which was created in 1968. After the DTSC informed the company that the cleanup was progressing much too slowly, new cleanup programs were brought about in 2003 and completed three years later. Among the staggering pieces of statistical information: 260,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated and screened, and the bedrock beneath these areas were tested. A total of 47,000 pieces of ordnance and 120,000 pounds of inert fragments were removed and each time a piece of ordnance was located, additional examination of the area was conducted by the contractor.

After tomorrow night's event, public comment will be accepted until 10 April.

The Equestrian Center is at 14280 Peyton Drive across from Ayala High School and there will no doubt be much interesting information available about this 15-year cleanup effort which has cost many millions of dollars. Much of the Aerojet site is now the location of the exclusive, gated community of Vellano with its accompanying golf course, though the company still owns a portion of the testing facility site.

As has been noted before, additional investigative reporting has been conducted by journalist Michael Collins at his web site enviroreporter.com--a link is at the right side of the main blog page.

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