Griffiss Air Force Base
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The EPA added the Griffiss Air Force Base site near Rome, New York to the Superfund National Priorities List on November 1, 1984 because hazardous chemicals were found in the soil and ground water. The 3,552 acre superfund site in Oneida County was a military base since 1943 and was home to the 416th Combat Support Group under the Air Combat Command until the base was closed in 1995. While in operation, various wastes were generated, including solvents and lead from battery acids. These wastes were disposed in landfills and dry wells located throughout the base. Ground water beneath portions of the base was found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are potentially harmful substances that easily evaporate in the air. Soils were contaminated with heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs and semi-volatile organic compounds were also found in two nearby bodies of water, Three Mile Creek and Six Mile Creek.
Between 1985 and 1989, underground storage tanks and associated soil contamination were removed from the site. The Air Force provided bottled water for residents affected by contaminated well water and provided the community with funds to connect to the municipal water supply. These connections were made by late 1991. In 1997, Griffiss performed several removals of soil contaminated with PCBs and petroleum, several drywells and sumps, and one small landfill used to house low level radioactive tubes. The remaining landfills were capped.
Griffiss is seeking to transfer portions of the base property before completing the required cleanup. Five early transfer areas have already been approved by the EPA and the State. These transfers are allowed, with appropriate restrictions, provided that the Air Force makes various guarantees to complete the cleanup according to schedule. The EPA has reviewed transfer documents for over 3,000 acres which allowed the former airfield to be transferred and leased by the county as a new Oneida County Airport. Under current conditions at this site, potential or actual human exposures are under control.