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Air Force begins PCB clean-up

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, UT -- An Air Force contractor began removing soil containing polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, Tuesday in a section of the family housing area here. 

The PCBs were found in the soil in the housing area earlier this year during a construction and renovation project of the homes. In late February, the Air Force began an aggressive soil sampling program to learn more about the extent of the PCBs in the housing area, and more than 700 soil samples have been collected and analyzed. 

"We started work on the first of six locations in the housing area that we will clean up," said Bob Elliott, Hill's Environmental Restoration Branch chief. "We hope to finish the entire project by mid-November if weather and conditions permit." 

The project will involve removal of approximately 1,700 cubic yards of contaminated soil in areas where PCBs have been detected above 1 part per million. The soil will be taken to an approved disposal facility, and the area will be restored to its pre-construction conditions. 

"Our housing residents have been very patient and cooperative, and we are pushing to get this done as quickly as possible," said Col. Scott Chambers, 75th Air Base Wing commander. "We hope to have the soil removed and the area restored before winter hits." 

PCBs are a mixture of up to 209 different chemicals that were produced for use in electrical equipment and transformers up until the late 1970s.