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Air Force, EPA, and Arizona agree to clean up groundwater at Air Force Plant 44

Release Date: 09/13/2011
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149

Plant is portion of Tucson Airport Superfund Site

SAN FRANCISCO Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Air Force has signed an agreement with EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to clean up Air Force-owned property at Air Force Plant 44, part of the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site in Tucson.

Under the terms of the federal facility agreement, the Air Force will work with the EPA and ADEQ to clean up areas impacted by Air Force Plant 44 south of Los Reales Road. Groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and other chemicals.

“EPA, Arizona and Air Force are committed to achieving cleanup of Air Force Plant 44,” said Jane Diamond, EPA’s Director of the Superfund Division in the Pacific Southwest Region. “This agreement provides a new level of confidence that the work by the military will meet all EPA and State environmental requirements for completion.”
Investigations since the early 1980s have shown contamination in soils and ground water at and near the Air Force Plant 44. Ten areas were identified as potentially contaminated, including land disposal areas that are no longer in use: a former wastewater treatment facility, and two fire training areas. Groundwater contaminants include volatile organic compounds, such as TCE, and 1,4-dioxane. However, the Air Force has taken numerous actions to clean up contamination in these areas, and no immediate health threats currently exist at the site.

“This agreement is an important milestone for the TIAA site,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. “It lays a solid foundation for continued cooperation among ADEQ, EPA and the Air Force to assure the cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater at the site.”

The agreement provides for regulatory oversight of the Air Force’s Superfund work at Air Force Plant 44 and allows for assessment of penalties if the work is not completed or is inadequate. For the past several years, the Air Force has been conducting work at the site without a formal enforcement agreement for EPA and state oversight. This agreement will ensure EPA and ADEQ can compel the Air Force to fully investigate and cleanup the site. Thus far, the Air Force has cleaned up soil in several areas and continues to investigate and clean up contaminated ground water south of Los Reales Road.

Air Force Plant 44 is a Government-owned, contractor-operated facility, currently operated by Raytheon Corporation. Air Force Plant 44 is one of the seven project areas within the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site, a National Priorities List site as designated by the EPA in 1982. Other areas of the TIAA site are being cleaned up under agreements with the Tucson Airport Authority, Raytheon and Boeing, and a separate federal facility agreement with the Arizona Air National Guard. Where no other party is able to clean up an area, EPA is conducting the cleanup with federal funding.

The document is available online at along with additional information about the site history and cleanup progress. EPA will be accepting public comments on the document. Please submit comments to A formal 45-day public comment period will begin shortly following an official public notice in the Arizona Daily Star.