Guam – The Army Corps of Engineers is recommending the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated surface soil from the Ibanez and Guerrero properties in Toto.
The 2 properties cover about 10 acres in Toto which sit over an old World War II military dump. They’re located in an area that was once part of the “5th Marine Supply Depot known as the ‘Fifth Field.'”
This past Monday family member Linda Ibanez told PNC News that there are about 8 homes on the effected property in which about 2 dozen people live. No one lives on the Guerrero property.
According to the Proposed remediation plan, sections of the top-soil, primarily on the Ibanez property, were found to be contaminated with hazardous levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls commonly known as PCBs.
What the Crops proposes to do is to excavate the top 2 feet of soil and take it away to a landfill. The excavated area would them be backfilled with “clean soil.”
The Army Corps recommendation was presented to area residents last night [Wednesday] at the Mongmong-Toto-Maite Community Center.
Their report follows an extensive study of the contaminates in the soil that started back in 1987.
The report cites a 1986 interview with property owner Vicente Ibanez who told the Crop that the land was initially used as a limestone quarry at the conclusion of World War II and then as a landfill when American Forces departed Fifth Field at the beginning of the Korean conflict.
Jose Guerrero, the other property owner told the Corp in 1986 that his property was “the site of military supply wharehouses, a military vehicle base-yad and a shooting range.” When American forces left a large pit was excavated and excess military equipment was dumped into the pit and then backfilled, states the report.
Among the debris found at the site were “ampules of calcium hypochlorite powder, gun oil, ammunition containers, helmets and gun cartridges.”
Of particular concern were the ampules of calcium hypochlorite on the Ibanez property. The Army Corp has already removed “over 200 pounds of ampules … which equates to about 30 pounds of anhydrous calcium hypochlorite.”
Excavation and Off-Site Disposal Alternative:
The report states that remediation of the site under this alternative “may take several months to years, due to the need for pilot-scale testing, permitting and performance testing.”
“Cost notwithstanding, it is anticipated this alternative would garner the greatest support because it would permanently remove the contaminated soil from what is currently a residential property.”
The Army Corp of Engineers is soliciting comments on their proposed remedial action.
Comments can be sent to –
Helene Takemoto, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District
Building 252, Attn: CEPOH-PP-E
Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440
Telephone: 808.438.6931 Fax: 808.438.6930