Elizabeth, Elbert County, CO: Former Lowry Air Force Base Atlas Missile Site 2, Complex 2C, 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 2, Complex 2C is located southeast of Elizabeth, Colorado. The complex consisted of 97 acres acquired between 1959 and 1961. Improvements to the property included: three launch stations located nearby in separate reinforced-concrete structures, each consisting of an underground missile silo, a supporting equipment terminal, a propellant terminal and a propellant system; one underground guidance center; underground utility and service facilities, including an underground powerhouse; interconnecting underground tunnels; two sewage stabilization cells; a chemical waste clarifier; and five concrete sealed chambers. 

The powerhouse contained four diesel generators and hydraulic machinery for domestic services. The chemical waste clarifier and five sump pump discharges served as catchments for the chemical waste from the missile complex. The sump pump discharges were located by each missile silo, by the antenna terminal, and in the center of the complex. The complexes covered between 30 to 60 acres. Currently, the site is owned by Elbert County and is used as a solid waste transfer station. 

Problem and Response: Chemicals known to have been used at the Titan I missile complex include ethylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, lubricating oil, diesel fuel, helium, liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, kerosene-based rocket fuel rocket propellant-1, polychlorinated biphenyls, and chlorinated solvents. 

Two environmental investigations have been performed to assess the potential of hazardous constituents to the environment as a result of past Department of Defense practices at the Titan 2C missile complex. Based upon past and current data, the greatest potential risk to human health is the exposure pathway associated with drilling or excavating activities where personnel may come in contact with contaminated shallow soil and/or groundwater. 

The extent of tetrachloroethene (PCE) contamination has been assessed. The extent of trichloroethene (TCE) contamination between wells near landfill trenches may indicate that the landfill trenches could be a source of TCE contamination. The potential contaminant sources are limited on the eastern portion of the site. TCE may present a risk to residential wells east of the site. The PCE contamination was detected in the northwest portion of the site, and the source may indicate that the contamination is related to DoD activities. The remedial investigation performed in 2014 recommended further investigation. 

Activities for 2015: Further investigation to delineate the shallow PCE plume. 

Proposed Activities for 2016: Finalize feasibility study and proceed with remedial design effort if needed.