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Robins digs groundwater treatment well

Contractors install wells to treat groundwater contamination along Ninth Street at Robins Air Force Base. Only shallow groundwater was affected by the contamination which did not reach any base drinking water sources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Contractors install wells to treat groundwater contamination along Ninth Street at Robins Air Force Base. Only shallow groundwater was affected by the contamination which did not reach any base drinking water sources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- There are various drilling projects on base occurring along an eastern route from Bldg. 640 along Ninth St.

"The purpose of the drilling is to install wells that will treat groundwater contamination that is in the area," explained Fred Otto with the base's Environmental Restoration Group.

The contamination originated near Bldg. 645 many years ago from an old underground storage tank which leaked.

The tank has since been removed.

It's important to clarify that the contamination being treated is confined to shallow groundwater and did not reach any base drinking water sources.

Drilling is only occurring to treat any contaminants at 40 to 70 feet deep. Drinking water is extracted from an aquifer several hundred feet deep.

"There are also hundreds of monitoring wells across the base that are checked to ensure drinking water is not impacted," he said.

Basically, the wells are used to inject a vegetable oil mix into the soil and groundwater. It will feed the existing bacteria that will break down chemicals in the contaminated water. The process is known as reductive de-chlorination (feeding microbes to break down contaminants).

Working in coordination with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the cleanup process will take several years. The prime contractor is Cape Environmental Management Inc., with subcontractor CH2M Hill.