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NEWS | Sept. 14, 2010

Excavation may temporarily close 10th fairway

By Brian McGloin 502nd Air Base Wing/OL-B Public Affairs

Remnants of a former skeet and trap range on the southeast edge Randolph haunt the current occupant of the space: the 10th fairway of the Randolph Oaks Golf Course.

During an initial assessment conducted by contractors under the installation restoration program in 2007, small fragments of clay targets were discovered around what is now the 10th fairway. Clay targets and shot can include toxic materials such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and lead, said Katy Breyer, 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

She said historic records showed the potential for contamination at the site. Military lands historically associated with weapon system testing and training may contain discarded military munitions and munitions constituents.

PAHs occur in oil, coal and tar deposits and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass). As a pollutant, they are of concern because some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic and toxic, the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds reports.

IRP is a congressionally authorized Department of Defense program started in 1984 to address past disposal sites on military installations in the United States.

Within the IRP, there are former military munitions sites that are covered by the military munitions response program, which was developed to address munitions and chemical residue response actions from past practices (other than operational range locations).

Ms. Breyer said through the IRP, both former and current DoD hazardous substance releases are identified, investigated and cleaned up.

Ms. Breyer said in December 2008, soil samples were collected at the 10th fairway as part of a remedial investigation where more than 228 locations were sampled. As a result of that investigation, levels of PAHs and lead above what is considered safe were discovered.

Other military installations in the San Antonio area have their own efforts to remove toxic materials from the ground.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports, because of past waste management practices at what was Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, some areas of the base were suspected to be impacted by various hazardous substances, including metals, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds.

An area of Kelly, which is now part of Lackland Air Force Base, underwent a remediation where toxic materials were removed from what is now the Outdoor Recreation Center. Excavation and restoration were recently completed.

The 17-acre site in question on Randolph was used as a skeet range from 1952 until 1960. Ms. Breyer said the site may be temporarily closed for the safety of the golfers and to complete the project as quickly as possible.

The excavation to remove toxic material is scheduled to begin in December 2010 or January 2011, with the work completed and fairway restored by March 1, 2011.