Arapahoe County, CO: Former Lowry Air Force Base Atlas Missile Site 1, Complex 1C, Colorado

Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program

Published April 15, 2015
Martin SM-68 "Titan I" Missile

Martin SM-68 "Titan I" Missile

Location and Description: The former Lowry Air Force Base Titan I Missile Site 1, Complex 1C is located 14 miles east of Aurora, Colorado in Arapahoe County and consists of 211 acres. The site was declared excess by the Department of Defense to the General Services Administration in August 1965.

In March 1966, the Mid-Continent Construction Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, was to begin dismantling the Lowry AFB Titan Missile silos ending sometime before February 1967. Several leases and a commercial agreement to buy and sell real estate have been in place. 

Falcon Research & Development Company (Falcon) leased the site property in March 1969. Falcon’s entire business involved performing research and engineering projects on behalf of the federal government with virtually all of the work conducted for the DoD. Falcon’s contracts included the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other defense agencies. The vast majority of Falcon’s research projects at Complex 1C involved explosive tests. 

Falcon conducted all operations on the surface of the site, with the exception of one period when a small area of the underground missile complex was used for a few months to conduct ballistic impact testing. Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) entered into a lease in March 1988 for the purposes of storing, assembling, manufacturing, and testing explosive devices. 

Most of the work ARA conducted at Complex 1C was on behalf of the DoD and aerospace companies. ARA performed various types of field testing, including shock physics and explosive characterization, to prove its hypotheses. ARA is also to be held fully responsible for the cleanup, disposal, and disposition of any and all hazardous materials. 

Problem and Response: Tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) are the primary contaminants in groundwater and are limited to the shallow saturated zone encountered mostly within the fenced area of the underground facility. It is assumed there were two sources: a PCE source to the north around the powerhouse area and a TCE source near the former building foundation area. 

Groundwater below the intermediate saturated zone is believed to be uncontaminated by DoD site activities, based on groundwater results from a deep monitoring well. Aroclor-1254 was detected in surface and subsurface soil samples near the chemical waste clarifier. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were detected in surface soil samples near the incinerator cleanout. The contamination is delineated and confined to within five feet of the outlet of the clarifier and within five feet of the cleanout of the incinerator, where it is scheduled to be removed. 

Other detected contaminants include cis-1, 2-DCE (which is a degradation product from TCE), and chloroform (which may be a product of aerobic degradation of TCE). The remedial investigation report was completed in July 2007. The effort to permanently close the four underground storage tanks (USTs) was completed and as part of the permanent closure, an investigation to ascertain the environmental conditions of the soil adjacent to the USTs was conducted. A feasibility study was completed in November 2011, and a firm fixed-price performance-based contract, remedy in place was awarded in March 2012. 

The proposed plan was submitted to the community and the decision document was signed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Acting Chief, Environmental Division Directorate of Military Programs on September 26, 2014.

Activities for 2015: Submit the final remedial design, perform in-site chemical oxidation using potassium permanganate, and submit remedy in place report. 

Proposed Activities for 2016: Full scale of remedy in place performance monitoring and semi-annual performance monitoring report.