Tri-County Public Airport Site


Site Background

The Tri-County Public Airport (TCPA) Site is located in rural Morris County approximately eight miles east of Herington, Kansas; more specifically in Sections 31 and 32, Township 15 South, and Sections 5, 6, and 18, Township 16 South, all in Range 6 East of the Delavan Kansas Quadrangle. The total area of the TCPA, including the former runways is around 3.5 square miles. The City of Latimer, Kansas, is located about three miles north of the TCPA in the northwest of Section 23, Township 15 South, Range 2 East.

The property was developed in the early 1940s as the Herington Army Airfield (HAAF) and deactivated in 1946. The facility was used for processing aircraft crews and heavy equipment, and contained several buildings, including three general maintenance hangars, a large sub-depot (Hangar 1) and a motor pool. The property ownership was conveyed to the City of Herington in 1948.

The TCPA Site was discovered in connection with assessment work conducted between 1994 and 1996 by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) investigating petroleum contamination associated with former site operations of HAAF. The investigation identified the chlorinated solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater. Beech Aircraft Company (Beech), predecessor to Raytheon Aircraft Corporation (Raytheon), leased four hangars and several other buildings at the Site from 1950 until the early 1960's. Beech used TCE as a solvent in degreasers located in Hangars 1 and 4.

In 1989 TCE and carbon tetrachloride (CT) (a grain fumigant) were detected in groundwater samples collected in the nearby town of Latimer located three miles northwest of the TCPA Site. These findings, along with the ACOE investigation findings, prompted a series of investigations by EPA and KDHE at the TCPA Site and nearby private wells. The CT source was determined to be associated with the Latimer Agri-Services facility, and groundwater monitoring is currently being conducted by KDHE's State Water Plan/Orphans Site Program as the Latimer Groundwater Contamination Site (See Project Code: C5-064-70590).

Interim Measures

In December 2000 Raytheon entered into a Consent Order (CO) with KDHE to perform a Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS). The CO was amended in 2009 and 2013 to address Respondent company name changes. The RI was initiated in 2001 and completed with approval of the RI Report in February 2008, and a Human Health Risk Assessment and Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment were completed with approval of the Reports in December 2009. A residential indoor air assessment was conducted in February 2009 with contaminants of concern not detected above residential indoor air Risk-based Standards for Kansas, with the Report approved in June 2009. A FS Report was initially approved in December 2010, and a FS Addendum Report was approved in August 2015 that included revised recommended remedial alternatives.

Private well remediation activities, source abatement actions and several pilot tests and interim remedial measures (IRMs) have been or are being conducted to address Site contamination and/or support the FS. Activities include: a soil removal action at Hangar 1 Area in 2005 as part of a Unilateral Administrative Order issued by EPA in 2004; monitored natural attenuation assessment (2011); enhanced reductive dechlorination and tracer study (2012-2014); in-situ chemical oxidation permanganate injections IRMs (2009-present); and soil vapor extraction (SVE) pilot test/IRMs (2011-present).

All work ceased when Hawker Beechcraft Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and in 2013, upon emerging from bankruptcy and reorganization, Beechcraft Corporation (BC) resumed Site IRMs and sampling activities. On September 15, 2015, BC entered into a CO with KDHE to perform Corrective Action Plan/Corrective Action tasks.

Public Comment Period

KDHE is soliciting public comments regarding a proposal to address environmental contamination. Public comments on the Draft CAD must be submitted to KDHE in writing during the 30-day public comment period from October 29, 2020, through November 30, 2020, to the address listed below. A draft Corrective Action Decision (CAD) document that outlines the proposal for cleanup is available for public review at the KDHE offices in Topeka and at the Herington Public Library at 102 S. Broadway Street in Herington. Appointments to review the documents in Topeka may be made by contacting Courtney Stallman at 785-291-3066. The draft CAD and other pertinent information are also electronically available below. A virtual public meeting may be held upon request.

Public comments can be submitted to: Courtney Stallman, KDHE Bureau of Environmental Remediation, 1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66612 or Courtney.Stallman@ks.gov. Comments will be accepted until November 30, 2020.

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact:

KDHE Site Documents