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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 354-96
June 11, 1996

FINAL AGREEMENT ON ROCKY MOUNTAIN ARSENAL CLEANUP SIGNED

The Record of Decision for cleanup of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was signed today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army and the State of Colorado at a ceremony held at the Arsenal. The ROD outlines specific implementation methods for remediation of contamination at this Superfund site.

Shell Oil Company and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although not legal signatories to the ROD, presented letters affirming support of the document and were present at the ROD signing. Shell and the U.S. Army are responsible for the cleanup, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for wildlife and habitat management at the Arsenal. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will oversee cleanup operations.

"The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is one of the largest Superfund sites and most studied hazardous waste sites in the country. The Army and Shell have spent almost two decades identifying the types and location of contamination here. We have incorporated this knowledge into the Record Of Decision, said Togo D. West Jr., secretary of the Army. "With many interim response actions already completed, significant cleanup has already been achieved. As we move into the final phase of cleanup, the Army, Shell and the Fish and Wildlife Service share the goal of the communities of making the Arsenal a premier wildlife refuge.

"This Record of Decision marks a milestone in the Department of Defense's commitment to the cleanup of Rocky Mountain Arsenal," said Sherri W. Goodman, deputy undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security.

The ROD calls for continued operation of the existing groundwater treatment systems; installation of a new groundwater extraction system in the central part of the Arsenal; long-term groundwater monitoring; treatment of 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil; construction of an on-site hazardous waste landfill to dispose of 1.7 million cubic yards of contaminated soil; and demolition and on-site disposal of structures.

"With the signing of this historic document, we are now entering a new era in the cleanup and management of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, said Colorado Gov. Roy Romer. Our challenge now is to work together to ensure that this cleanup plan is implemented in a safe, practical, efficient and timely manner. By staying committed to our collective goals and addressing legal and technical issues that may arise, we will ensure that this vast open space will provide critical wildlife habitat and enjoyment for Coloradans and the nation for years to come.

Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler was asked by Gov. Romer to take the lead in efforts to resolve Arsenal cleanup issues for the state more than a year ago. The key to finalizing cleanup negotiations was bringing all five organizations together with neighboring communities in numerous intensive meetings. The Record of Decision reflects the agreement reached during those sessions and the commitment of everyone to protect human health and the environment, Schoettler said. She also commended the citizens for their dedication to the process.

In addition to the various cleanup actions, a medical monitoring program will ensure that community health is not adversely affected by the cleanup. Safety procedures will be designed into all cleanup activities to protect workers and wildlife at the Arsenal including odor and dust control programs to mitigate potential releases during cleanup. The public will be kept informed about remediation activities at the Arsenal.

"As we embark on the ambitious cleanup tasks described today, we should remember that the most immediate threats from contamination here have already been dealt with," said Jack McGraw, acting regional administrator for EPA Region 8. "The incineration of 10.5 million gallons of Basin F liquid stopped the movement of contaminants and protected Arsenal neighbors' drinking water. Our path has not always been smooth, but today's event underscores a powerful partnership that will help assure a safe, efficient cleanup."

The Army has spent approximately $750 million dollars to date and estimates that the Arsenal cleanup will cost approximately $2 billion to complete.

The EPA and the State will continue to oversee cleanup operations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for managing wildlife and habitat at the Arsenal.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is a 27 square-mile Superfund site 10 miles northeast of downtown Denver. The Army produced chemical weapons there beginning in 1942 until 1969, and later leased manufacturing facilities to companies including Shell. Shell produced pesticides at the Arsenal from 1952-1982. Water and soil contamination occurred over the years primarily due to waste disposal methods commonly practiced at the time. The Arsenal was added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 1987. In 1992, the U.S. Congress designated the Arsenal a National Wildlife Refuge upon completion of the cleanup.

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Nancy Burt, Department of Defense Public Affairs, (703) 697-5131, Maura Meehan, Army Public Affairs, (703) 697-5081, or Bill Thomas, Rocky Mountain Arsenal Public Affairs, (303) 289-0143.

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