Public Discussion Takes Flight About Former Mich. Air Force Site

The Keweenaw County (Mich.) Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) hosted an informal informational presentation in April to describe upcoming environmental activities at the former Calumet Air Force Station, also referred to simply as Mount Horace Greeley.

Chuck Bennetts, BRA chairman, gave a brief background of the organization, then discussed the former Calumet Air Force Station on Mount Horace Greeley, which has been classified as a brownfield.

After the Keweenaw County BRA was formed, it received a grant of $200,000 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Protection Agency in 2009, to identify brownfields and to work on remediation. Of four sites identified, the former Air Force station is now the focus, Bennetts said.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental site assessments were conducted at the former air base, as were sampling and analysis plans, and a cleanup plan was started in 2012, Bennetts said. Some of the results of the assessments were that hazardous substances were found that exceed the limits of the MDEQ and were identified in both groundwater and soil samples. Also identified was the presence of lead-based paint.

The current goal is to restore the property to pre-Air Force use.

Bennetts said remediation activities so far have included asbestos abatement; building demolition; contaminated soil cleanup or disposal, and maintenance and monitoring of groundwater.

As it is felt that the Air Force is responsible for the release of the contaminants, the BRA is seeking remediation funding from the federal government, Bennetts said. Currently, the USAF has contractors on the site, and there is also the possibility of assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while the DEQ is exploring other funding opportunities.

Source: The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton, Mich.


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