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Ellsworth continues record of excellence in environmental compliance

ELLSWORTH AFB S.D. -- Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Agency announced the deletion of portions of the Ellsworth Air Force Base site from the National Priorities List Dec. 4.
"This milestone is a result of a tremendous amount of hard work by some highly dedicated professionals not only at Ellsworth but at the EPA and at the State of South Dakota as well," said Lt. Col. Navnit Singh, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

The partial deletion pertains to surface soil, unsaturated subsurface soil, surface water, and sediments at 10 of 12 environmental study areas. EPA determined, with the concurrence of the State of South Dakota through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that the parcels of land pose no significant threat to public health, welfare or the environment and, therefore, no further response action pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act is appropriate.

"The partial deletion of the 10 Operable Units could not have been done without the involvement of the Ellsworth Air Force Base Remedial Project Manager, Mr. Dell Petersen and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources Remedial Project Manager, Ms. Joane Lineburg and support personnel at the site," said Jeff Mashburn, EPA's Ellsworth project manager. "The removal of these units indicates that the remedies are in place and functional and the risk to human health and the environment has been minimized."

Ellsworth's completion of the remedy requirements and ongoing monitoring programs adequately demonstrate that these parcels do not present a threat to the environment or human health. Removal from the national priorities list is also indicative of Ellsworth's successful environmental initiatives and commitment to environmental compliance.

"Ellsworth is proud of the relationship we have with our neighbors and we are always excited to be able to further demonstrate our commitment to ensure we remain good stewards of the lands entrusted to us," Colonel Singh said.

Success in environmental restoration was one precursor to membership in the EPA's Performance Track Program, which Ellsworth was selected for in September. Ellsworth was also recognized by the United States Department of Energy at the 2006 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony.

In June EPA published a Notice of Intent of Partial Deletion in the Federal Register and local newspapers for public comment. South Dakota commented in support of the partial deletion.

"The environmental team at Ellsworth has a long history of finding solutions to complex environmental problems," said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. "DENR has been pleased to be partners with Ellsworth on this environmental cleanup."

EPA identifies sites that appear to present a significant risk to public health, welfare and the environment and maintains the NPL as the list of those sites. Deletion from the NPL does not preclude further remedial action nor does it affect responsible party liability for further remedial actions, in the unlikely event that future conditions warrant such actions.

Ellsworth will continue to work with agencies to meet its environmental obligations and is aggressively pursuing cleanup and remaining sites.

For more information, please contact the 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs office at 605-385-5056.