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NPL Site Narrative for Fairchild Air Force Base (4 Waste Areas)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE (4 WASTE AREAS)
Spokane County, Washington

Federal Register Notice:  March 13, 1989

Conditions at proposal (June 24, 1988): Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) occupies approximately 4,300 acres 12 miles west of Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. The base opened in 1942 as the Spokane Army Air Depot. In 1950, the name was changed to Fairchild AFB. Its primary mission is to maintain and repair aircraft, primarily large craft such as bombers and tankers.

Four waste areas covering 85 acres comprise the NPL site: Building 1034 French drain and dry well system; two landfills, one northeast of Taxiway 8 and one at Craig Road; and the industrial waste lagoons. During past base activities, more than 4,000 drum equivalents of carbon tetrachloride and other solvents, paint wastes, plating sludges containing cadmium and lead, and related industrial wastes were disposed of in the four areas.

A 10- to 20-foot layer of permeable sand and gravel overlies an aquifer under the base. The aquifer, which consists of Columbia River Flood Basalt, is highly fractured. These conditions facilitate movement of contaminants into ground water, as well as movement of contaminated ground water. A well within base boundaries serves as a standby water supply for the base's 5,200 employees. In addition, approximately 400 private wells serving about 20,000 people are within 3 miles of the facility.

West Medical Lake, Medical Lake, and Silver Lake are within 3 miles downstream of Fairchild AFB. These lakes support wildlife and are used for recreational activities.

Fairchild AFB is participating in the Installation Restoration Program, established in 1978. Under this program, the Department of Defense seeks to identify, investigate, and clean up contamination from hazardous materials. The Air Force has completed Phase I (records search). Phase II (preliminary survey) is underway. Additional ground water monitoring is planned for 1988.

Fairchild AFB received Interim Status under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by filing Part A of a permit application for the industrial waste lagoons. EPA and the State are reviewing Part B of the permit. Discharges from the lagoons and the sanitary waste water treatment plant are regulated under permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

Status (March 13, 1989): Ground water sampling conducted by Fairchild AFB in 1986 and 1987 detected numerous volatile, semivolatile, and inorganic compounds at significantly elevated levels. Contamination has been detected at the four waste areas described above as well as other areas at the base. Fairchild AFB is working with EPA to develop a workplan for a remedial investigation/feasibility study to determine the type and extent of contamination at the site and identify alternatives for remedial action.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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