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CMAFS finalizes clean-up efforts

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- Airmen here are completing the final clean-up from damage caused in the September floods.

The unprecedented amount of rainfall caused large amounts of damage to the landscape around the base and in the neighborhood directly below. A large rockslide coupled with several inches of rain caused roadways and landscaping to wash away, pipes to be damaged and general flooding.

One of the structures damaged during the storm was an industrial service line. The line ruptured causing a small amount of petroleum and water mixture to flow through a drainage area. Once the water evaporated and snow melted, small pockets of petroleum remained, which is estimated at less than 10 gallons.

"As soon as we found this break in the line, we reported it to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and the National Response Center," said Col. Travis Harsha, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station installation commander. "The amount of petroleum released was not enough to be considered reportable to state authorities, but we still feel it is our responsibility to recover any remnants that remain in the drainage area."

The CMAFS team hired a contractor to remove any petroleum from rocks and along the drainage area. The residue is not anticipated to cause a hazard to wildlife, pets or homeowners.

The danger to humans is minimal according to Maj. Bruce Murren, 21 Space Wing Aerospace Medicine Squadron.

"The isolated spots that someone may come in contact with are similar to that of someone changing the oil in their car," said Murren. "Any contact can be handled by washing the affected area with soap and water."

The CMAFS team views themselves as a part of the surrounding neighborhood and many of the employees live in the surrounding community as well.

"This is my neighborhood, too," said Harsha. "We want to be completely transparent in this process and ensure we are exceeding environmental expectations in every possible way. Our goal is to be a good neighbor."

Completion of the clean-up will involve personnel scouting potential areas and using a bucket and shovel to remove any contaminated soils. Any contaminated soil will be disposed in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency standards.

"We expect that we will be able to completely recover the material and that there will be no significant impact to the environment," said Harsha.

Work is expected to begin in early June.

For more information, contact the 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office at 556-5185.

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