HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force dismantles groundwater treatment plant at Castle

Construction workers removing pipes from one of the groundwater treatment systems at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif.  The Air Force has two additional groundwater treatment systems that continue to operate on the former base. This system had achieved its goal and is no longer needed for groundwater cleanup.

Construction workers removing pipes from one of the groundwater treatment systems at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif.  The Air Force has two additional groundwater treatment systems that continue to operate on the former base. This system had achieved its goal and is no longer needed for groundwater cleanup.

A crane  removes the second of two 13,800 gallon holding tanks that were part of a groundwater treatment plant at the former  Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif.  The Air Force is removing the treatment system because it had completed its purpose of addressing groundwater contamination in the central base area.  Two additional treatment systems continue to address the remaining groundwater cleanup.

A crane removes the second of two 13,800 gallon holding tanks that were part of a groundwater treatment plant at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The Air Force is removing the treatment system because it had completed its purpose of addressing groundwater contamination in the central base area. Two additional treatment systems continue to address the remaining groundwater cleanup.

A crane  removes the second of two 13,800 gallon holding tanks that were part of a groundwater treatment plant at the former  Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif.  The Air Force is removing the treatment system because it had completed its purpose of addressing groundwater contamination in the central base area.  Two additional treatment systems continue to address the remaining groundwater cleanup.

A crane removes the second of two 13,800 gallon holding tanks that were part of a groundwater treatment plant at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The Air Force is removing the treatment system because it had completed its purpose of addressing groundwater contamination in the central base area. Two additional treatment systems continue to address the remaining groundwater cleanup.

A crane  removes the first of two air stripper towers that were used to treat contaminated groundwater at the former  Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The air stripping towers removed volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethene, a solvent used when the base was active.

A crane removes the first of two air stripper towers that were used to treat contaminated groundwater at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The air stripping towers removed volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethene, a solvent used when the base was active.

A crane  removes the first of two air stripper towers that were used to treat contaminated groundwater at the former  Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The air stripping towers removed volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethene, a solvent used when the base was active.

A crane removes the first of two air stripper towers that were used to treat contaminated groundwater at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif. The air stripping towers removed volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethene, a solvent used when the base was active.

Castle -- The Air Force Real Property Agency marked a major achievement in the groundwater cleanup program at the former Castle Air Force Base this month by dismantling a groundwater treatment plant that is no longer needed. Built in 1994, the Operable Unit (OU) 1 plant, located on the southeast side of the base, treated the highest levels of groundwater contamination. In 2003, the Air Force in consultation with environmental regulatory agencies, shut down the plant as contaminant levels were reduced significantly. The last remaining concentrations are now treated by two other treatment plants operating on the former base.

"Basically, this plant worked itself out of a job," said Phil Mook, Air Force Real Property Agency's Senior Representative. "It's especially gratifying to see the end point to this process and to see that our cleanup system design to capture and clean the underground plume worked as predicted."

Castle Air Force Base closed in 1995 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). By late 2006, all 2,777-acres were transferred from the Air Force to the community.

Groundwater contamination was discovered in 1979. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Air Force conducted investigations, constructed new base water supply wells, and installed and operated a groundwater treatment system network. The Air Force, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State Department of Toxic Substances Control, and Regional Water Quality Control Board all worked closely to ensure safe drinking water on and off base.

Located in the central base area, the groundwater under OU 1's plant initially contained contaminant concentrations of 500-700 parts per billion. The source was from past maintenance operations with solvents, mostly trichloroethylene (TCE). The pump and treat system at OU 1 reduced those concentrations to below 40 parts per billion and the Air Force turned the system off in 2003 with approval from the environmental regulators. Remaining groundwater cleanup at Castle is now addressed by the OU 2 and Phase 3 groundwater treatment plants, both located on the western base boundary. Groundwater cleanup will continue until TCE concentrations are reduced to the maximum contaminant level of 5 parts per billion. Between 1994 and 2003, the OU 1 system treated more than 1.6 billion gallons of groundwater and removed approximately 700 pounds of contaminants.

All cleanup decisions under CERCLA have been finalized at Castle and all soil cleanup is complete, with the exception of an ongoing cleanup at the Petroleum Fuel Farm Area. The groundwater cleanup is expected to be completed within 20 years.

AFRPA acquires, manages and disposes of Air Force-controlled real property worldwide. The agency's BRAC division has managed the remediation and transfer of more than 77,000 acres of property at 35 former installations to local communities for economic development.


Media Contact:
Linda Geissinger
Public Affairs Officer
Air Force Real Property Agency
916-643-1250 x 109
Facebook Twitter
#WednesdayWisdom: Did you know that aircraft weight affects maintenance? By optimizing landing weights, we can increase readiness and make sure our planes are flying - and not headed to maintenance. https://go.usa.gov/xUaXt
#DYK Water management is also part of the #AFEnergy portfolio? Find out how the United States Air Force is developing a risk-based water management approach to improve resilience here: #p=56" target="_blank">http://online.fliphtml5.com/fedq/kepl/http://online.fliphtml5.com/fedq/kepl/#p=56
#AFEnergy gets the power to the warfighter! Check out this video tour of the 28MW array at 30th Space Wing (Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.). #resilience
#MotivationMonday: Blue skies can even make Mondays better.
#DYK that Air Force Operational Energy funded upgrades to the tanker planning tool Jigsaw? We're helping create a more agile United States Air Force. #FuelMOREFight #FridayInnovation
#FridayInnovation: Our Operational Energy team is focused on how the United States Air Force can reduce fuel burn by decreasing aircraft weight. For example, the more fuel an aircraft carries, the more fuel it burns - so we are working with the Major Commands to optimize fuel loads and increase efficiency. Learn more: https://go.usa.gov/xUaXt
DYK fireworks generate 3 forms of energy? Read more about this and other firework facts from the U.S. Department of Energy.
That feeling when you know the United States Air Force has watch on the skies. 🇺🇸️🦅 #HappyIndependenceDay #FourthOfJuly
Our solar panels are feelin' this summer heatwave! #energyresilience
Catch up on the latest news with June's Energy Express. Out now! http://www.afcec.af.mil/News/Publications/EnergyExpress/
Got energy resilience? OEA can help! The office works to ensure Air Force installations’ get the energy they need. Check out OEA here: https://go.usa.gov/xQ8YB
A great example of Air Force innovation!
ICYMI: OEA Exec Director Robert Hughes talks new Air Force Energy Storefront, a one-stop shop for all Air Force energy resiliency initiatives at the AssociationofDefenseCommunities National Summit in Washington, DC last week http://www.safie.hq.af.mil/Programs/Energy/OEA/
When your corner office is better than theirs…#Airmen #MotivationMonday
Got an innovative idea on how to help the United States Air Force optimize its fuel consumption? Check out some of the projects we're working on and let us know how we can #FuelMoreFight. https://go.usa.gov/xQEHM
You are not forgotten. You are in our hearts. #POWMIADay https://t.co/yRQK6hxyAU
What do you think about the @usairforce using #AI in training? https://t.co/ePycm14Zud
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: #CMSAF at #ASC18: We cannot compete, deter & win without resilient #Airmen. https://t.co/RtKKSOakJm
Less than a couple of weeks until #EnergyActionMonth! #DYK that at Air Force Energy we also focus on optimizing its… https://t.co/amkloS58QM
#DYK that our Operational Energy team is working to integrate #agile software development into aerial refueling tec… https://t.co/LbwIKSkOUe
RT @AirForceMag: "From pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, and from suffering can come strength if —and only if — our airmen…
RT @AETCommand: If you’re here at the @AirForceAssoc #ASC18, make sure you stop by the @HQAirUniversity booth to see how they execute the f…
RT @DeptofDefense: Today marks 71 years of #AirForce strength in the skies. Happy Birthday to the @USAirForce. #AFBday #AF71 https://t.co/y…
RT @usairforce: .@SecAFOfficial: The #USAF we need to implement the National Defense Strategy has 386 Operational Squadrons. #ASC18 https:/…
RT @usairforce: .@SecAFOfficial kicks off #ASC18 w/ a State of the #AirForce update at 10:30 AM EDT. Watch live: https://t.co/JUU3q0Rnow ht…
Is there something we're missing? We want to know your innovative ideas to optimize the @usairforce's aviation fuel… https://t.co/zfcQNSn10X
“Keep at it — be tenacious, be bold, be innovative,” says Gen. Carlton Everhart, outgoing commander of… https://t.co/7wBE0H6bhT
Guess what!? #EnergyActionMonth is almost here! Throughout October we'll be sharing how the @usairforce is optimizi… https://t.co/Wzk5HHkvP8