A contract for a wind turbine to aid in the groundwater cleanup of Massachusetts Military Reservation could be in place by the end of September.

A contract for a wind turbine to aid in the groundwater cleanup of Massachusetts Military Reservation could be in place by the end of September.

Doug Karson, spokesman for the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, said the Air Force recently signed off on the proposed project even though it would fall within a newly created 25-kilometer buffer zone for the PAVE PAWS radar facility in Sagamore.

Once the contract is in place, said Karson, AFCEE will have more definitive information regarding the size of the wind turbine, the cost of the project and a timetable for completion. The plan calls for a 1.65-megawatt turbine, which could be completed by the end of 2008.

“The sooner the better,” said Karson, who said the AFCEEE is looking to take advantage of the turbine’s economic and environmental benefits.

On the economic side, the proposed turbine is estimated to power 25 percent of the plume cleanup, a significant number when one considers that the project’s electric bill for 2006 was $1.5 million and electricity costs for 2001-2006 were $7.2 million.

On the environmental side, the renewable energy of the wind turbine would reduce the need for traditional electrical generation using fossil fuels. This is important because the electrical generation currently needed to power the project actually produces more volatile organic compounds than are being removed by the groundwater cleanup. The electricity needed for the cleanup also creates a large amount of CO2, a greenhouse gas.

“It’s one of the ironies of the project,” said Karson, who said the AFCEE is fulfilling its charge under federal Superfund laws to remediate the MMR groundwater plumes.
“There is a legal responsibility,” he said.

Although Karson emphasized there is no contract and, therefore, no hard numbers, he said the turbine is expected to pay for itself in about five years.

The proposed site for the turbine would be on the southwest corner of the MMR adjacent to Landfill One, an area in Bourne near the Falmouth town line.

The official name of the AFCEE cleanup is the Installation Restoration Program, or IRP.

According to its recently released booklet, there have been no known detections of plume-related contaminants detected since AFCEE began managing the cleanup.

Thousands of tests of hundreds of private wells have shown the water in the surrounding towns to be safe to drink.

AFCEE plume booklets now available

The Air Force Center for Engineering 2007 groundwater plume maps and information booklet are available.

The 36-page color booklet summarizes AFCEE’s environmental efforts at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

To request one or more copies, contact the AFCEE/MMR’s Doug Karson at doug.karson@brooks.af.mil or 508-968-4678, ext. 2.

The booklet is also available on the AFCEE’s Web site at mmr.org.