"High risk" contamination at local bases

Dept. of Defense logo by MGN

According to information from the Department of Defense, several military bases in Northwest Florida need serious environmental cleanup.

A report published by ProPublica lists Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fort Pickens, and Ellyson Field in Escambia County as having "high risk" levels of contamination. NAS Whiting Field in Santa Rosa County is also shown with "high risk" contamination.

Corry Station and Saufley Field in Escambia County are shown with medium risk factors, as are Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County.

ProPublica used data from the Defense Environmental Restoration Program to create a map of toxic sites. The locations reflect the location of pollutants and contaminants in the soil or the presence of explosives or discarded munitions. The data ProPublica received through a Freedom of Information Request had not been updated since 2015.

According to the data published by ProPublica, the Ellyson Field cleanup is expected to be complete by 2020. Other high risk sites show completion dates between 2031 and 2050.

A deeper look at the data breaks down the situation at each installation.

NAS Pensacola has already spent more than $102 million cleaning up contamination on base. Two areas aboard the base are still considered "high risk" for contaminated groundwater, surface water, or sediment.

At Fort Pickens, the cost of evaluating and clearing munitions-related hazards is expected to top $7.7 million.

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