Elmwood, NE: Former Lincoln Air Force Base, Atlas “F” Missile Site 1

Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program

Published April 7, 2015

Location and Description: The former Lincoln Air Force Base Atlas "F" Missile Site 1 is located in Cass County, just southeast of Elmwood, NE. The site was operational between 1961 and 1965. Site facilities consisted of an underground, reinforced-concrete launch silo, connecting underground launch control center, a water treatment plant, three water wells, a cooling tower, a septic tank with subsurface sand filter, a water treatment holding pond, two corrugated-steel igloos, and two underground fuel tanks.

The construction of the missile site's facilities took place in 1961 and 1962. All permanent structures remain at the site. The site was turned over to the General Services Administration in 1965. In 1967, the site was conveyed to a private owner. Since 1979, the land has been used as an auto salvage yard.

Problem and Response: Trichloroethylene (TCE) was used during operation and decommissioning of the former missile site. Previous environmental investigations at the site were performed between 1989 and 1995. These studies included a site investigation, a limited field investigation, and a supplemental water supply sampling event. Subsequent investigations were planned, but access to the property was denied until 2005.

Analysis of data from the prior investigations indicated the need for a groundwater remedial investigation to delineate the extent of TCE contamination in groundwater to determine whether the groundwater poses a potential threat to human health or the environment. A sample was taken from the production well that is currently in service at the site. The production well is currently not to be used for drinking water at the site. The land owner has been notified of the contamination and is being supplied bottled water.

Current use of water from the production well is used for industrial and agricultural use only. Additional wells were installed to delineate the extent of contamination on the current owner’s and adjacent owner’s properties. The remedial investigation and feasibility study reports have been completed and approved by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Field activities during 2010 included the installation of 32 membrane interface probe borings, 10 soil borings with soil sampling to confirm probe boring results, 29 new monitoring wells, ground water sampling from all existing and newly installed wells (53 total monitoring wells at the site), and completion of two aquifer tests (one shallow and one deep). In addition, the site has been connected to the local rural water district water service to replace the use of the onsite water wells.

Pilot test activities were finished in September 2010. A final volume refinement summary report was completed in October 2011. The option was awarded as part of the response complete effort to accomplish site closure by 2018.

Activities for 2015: Performance of monitoring to obtain 70% reduction of mass contamination.

Activities for 2016: Continued performance to reach 90% removal of the contamination.