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Guard cites progress in contamination cleanup

Dec 9, 2013 - The Associated Press

Well samples show lower concentrations of potentially dangerous chemicals than were detected last year.

CHEYENNE -- A project to clean up groundwater contamination in a residential area near the Wyoming Air National Guard Base in Cheyenne is making progress.

State and federal officials told residents Thursday that well samples show lower concentrations of potentially dangerous chemicals than were detected last year.

Hazardous chemicals, including trichloroethylene, that have been used on the base during the past several decades have leaked into the groundwater in that part of north Cheyenne during the past several decades.

But the contamination doesn't present a direct health hazard because the base and nearby homes are hooked into the city's water system.

Data collected in September show the amount of TCE detected in the groundwater at various sites has decreased 40 percent to 93 percent compared to 2012.

The Guard, along with the state Department of Environmental Quality, has created a Restoration Advisory Board to keep community members up to speed with the work.

Shirley McCown, who lives near the base on the north side of the airport, has been on the board for more than four years.

She said she was troubled about the health risks when she first learned about the contamination. But her fears have been alleviated by the monitoring and being kept in the loop with the progress.

She said the news of the lower amounts of chemicals in the groundwater also is welcome news.

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