Cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination is no small feat, but teaming with a diverse group of stakeholders produced significant results.
“From the beginning, our goal was to build a good relationship and work as a team with the community and the government agencies involved to resolve any technical challenges and expedite the cleanup process,” said Joe Flaherty, Boeing Remediation project manager.
Activities at Chemical Commodities, Inc. (CCI) in Olathe, Kansas contaminated soil and groundwater during its 38 years of operation as a chemical recycling and brokerage facility. During that time, CCI accepted chemicals from dozens of companies, including Rocketdyne, a rocket engine manufacturer that Boeing owned briefly.
Over the last 15 years, Flaherty and a team of Boeing experts in ground water and soil cleanup technologies have been working to clean up the U.S. EPA Superfund site.
Extensive involvement from the community and state and federal agencies is one of the reasons cited for several better-than-expected project milestones.
“The cleanup at the Chemical Commodities, Inc. site is a great example of the hard work and effort demonstrated by Boeing, the Olathe community and federal, state and local partnerships, to address hazardous waste at the site,” said U.S. EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks. “The goal of the Superfund Program is to protect human health and the environment from hazardous contamination. The CCI site has been cleaned up and is now ready for reuse. I commend Boeing, the Olathe community and all others involved in the cleanup for their part in making this project a success.”
“Construction of the final cleanup remedy was completed a full year ahead of schedule and significantly under budget,” said Flaherty. “Much of the credit for the progress we have experienced can be traced directly to the solid team at EPA and the engaged community of Olathe.”
In addition, the team did not receive a single complaint about noise, dust or traffic from nearby residents during construction activities. The EPA now includes lessons learned from the CCI project in presentations to its managers about how other sites can implement similar strategies.
Flaherty said the remediation team has learned valuable lessons of its own. “Working closely with all of the stakeholders, listening to their concerns and real teamwork are what resulted in the ultimate success of the project.”