Regional
12:17 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Fort Bliss Tests Reveal No Cross-Contamination

Results of tests conducted by Army Environmental Command, Army Installation
Command Radiation Safety, and Army Public Health Command show no sign of
radiological cross-contamination of the area around a bunker complex near
Biggs Army Airfield on Fort Bliss.  That complex was identified as a problem area this week.

A release stated the following:

The contamination in the floor of the bunker has remained in the floor of
the bunker.  All evidence indicates that the contamination has not moved
from the floor of the bunker.  There is no health risk from the equipment
inside the bunker.

Further, tests reveal the water is normal and safe.  El Paso Water Utilities
has confirmed that the alpha and beta particles are within acceptable levels
and these findings are posted online at epwu.org.  The bottom line is there
has not been any identifiable radiation contamination to the water tables or
water supply.  The water on Fort Bliss and in El Paso has not been
contaminated in any way by the material at Biggs Army Airfield.

Based on information gathered this week, the Army Environmental Command will
conduct technical surveys to locate any subsurface disposal sites, including
possible chemical solvents disposed of outside the maintenance area.  

The timeline for this testing to be completed is based on availability of funding.

But an IMCOM Radiation Safety Officer has arrived from San Antonio to participate in further
planning.

Army Environmental Command is working to assess the overall area where
material may have been buried.  They are using historic documents and
anecdotal evidence from Airmen that worked in the area in the 1950's and
1960's.  Once they determine the size of the area of interest, Army
Environmental Command will use ground-penetrating radar work to identify any
contamination beneath the surface.  The process of scoping the size of our
area of interest may take a few weeks to a few months.  The potential
contaminants do not present any danger to the atmosphere.

"We are gratified and relieved to find that the radiation in the bunker is
contained to the floor of the bunker and that there is no health risk to
anyone who worked in the bunker," said Maj. Joe Buccino, Fort Bliss Public
Affairs Officer.  "The radiation was not transferred to any equipment inside
the bunker."