17 August 2011

State of Arizona Deceived During Boneyard Inspection

Dioxin-contaminated UC-123 Quarantine Area
In 2010 the State of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality conducted a site inspection of the famous Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Prior to the inspection, base officials had been notified of the scope of what needed to be covered. In particular, hazardous materials needed to be identified to the inspectors.

Sign on Dioxin Contaminated UC-1232K
So it came as a bit of a surprise when in July 2011, one of the same officials who conducted the on-site inspection learned about the dioxin-contaminated UC-123K aircraft, all 21 of them stored in a special fenced areas within the already-fenced Boneyard, and with signs restricting entry. Base employees had been required to wear hazmat protection around the stored Agent Orange spray airplanes ever since 1998 to protect themselves from the contamination. Base employees had even filed an IG complaint about the dioxin contamination they'd been exposed to around the airplanes, a complaint which went all the way up to the Surgeon General of the Air Force for resolution.

Davis-Monthan officials conducted the Arizona DEQ officials around the Boneyard, but in July of this year this inspector found it quite surprising (enough to be taking to his boss) that they were never driven past the UC-123K...they were never told about or shown the largest collection of dioxin-contaminated aircraft in the world.

This inspector, careful of his departmental manners, didn't want to say that they'd been deceived or mislead, but in early August 2011 Arizona DEQ officials confirmed that the base was required to reveal the storage of exactly this type of threat to the environment but failed to do so. No note was made of the 21 planes at all in the written materials the base provided nor during the drive through the Boneyard which avoided them...the inspectors never even realized that the special UC-123 "quarantine area" (as the Boneyard officials themselves labeled it) had existed for many years!

Smelting UC-123 Planes - "the Navy Way...the Quiet Way!
Seems the efforts of AFMC, the 75th Air Base Wing and Davis-Monthan were successful over the years in keeping things low-key. All the way up to the dramatic destruction of the airplanes last year via an unrelated Navy disposal contract which, as Mr. Boor described it, was the "Navy way....the quiet way." Was that because of the possibility of a $3.4 billion fine as various AFMC memoranda point out?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? Nothing commercial or off-topic, please.