The Environmental Protection Agency will collect soil and water samples this month at the former O’Neill Tank site near the Great Bend Municipal Airport, to determine if there is contamination from hazardous materials. The EPA also plans to collect samples at and around the former Plating Inc. site in the industrial park near the airport. Plating Inc. is a contaminated site that is monitored by EPA’s Superfund Division, under a federal program to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
Soil and water samples collected at the O’Neill Tank site, 511 C St., and adjacent properties, will assess low level radium contamination and other possible contaminants, such as arsenic, chromium and other metals, said EPA spokesman David Bryan. The work will start on Oct. 15 and will be completed around Oct. 26. During this time, a large response truck with the EPA logo will be on-site for use as a mobile laboratory.
“It’s kind of routine,” Bryan said, explaining the Kansas Department of Health and Environment did some testing at the site earlier and asked EPA to look at possible contamination. “What happens next depends on levels of contaminants found in the soil.”
Soil and groundwater samples will also be collected this month at Plating Inc., a former chromium and zinc plating plant in the industrial park. Soil contaminated with chromium was first found in 1988, and in more recent years the EPA has monitored a plume of shallow ground water contamination, which means investigators must look beyond the actual building. In 2008 the site was named to the National Priorities List, making it eligible for further study and cleanup under the Superfund program.
EPA and its contractors will begin that investigation this Monday and it will continue until Nov. 9. Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington said the testing follows the water plume from Plating Inc. to 10th St. and Patton Road in Great Bend.
Wells created specifically to monitor the contamination will be tested, and area residents have agreed to have their private wells sampled, said Katey Miley at the regional EPA Superfund Division.
Sampling to determine the concentration of chromium directly under and around the building will take place from Oct. 15-26.