My friend Marvin Kammerer from Meade Count has some questions about the Superfund site known as Ellsworth Air Force Base. Specifically, he wants to know more about the plan the base and the Ellsworth Development Authority have to provide free water to neighboring residents whose wells the military has contaminated. Mr. Kammerer says he has sent these questions around to his local paper and other publications in the state but gotten no response.
Referring to an article written by Siandara Bonnet and printed in the Rapid City Journal November 13, 2021. I have some questions that need to be answered by Scott Landguth of the Ellsworth Development Authority or the Ellsworth Air Force Base commander at the next Black Hills Forum and Press Club meeting.
- Why didn’t Ellsworth prepare the area where they practice fire fighting with foam before using this dangerous chemical PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) which already poisons the soil and water of twenty six wells southwest of Ellsworth? If in doubt, Google up “Highland Dairy farmer Art Schaap of Clovis, New Mexico”. He can’t even sell his cows for dog food! Why do we still use these chemicals? The referenced article states that there are problems from southwest of the base to New Underwood.
- Scott Landguth says the Airforce doesn’t provide water off the base, but I have to ask why was the waterline to the base tapped on the west side of Dyess Road to provide water for the Airstream Travel Trailer convention some years back. The boys in blue were all gathered there when they tapped this eighteen inch waterline coming from Rapid City. Landguth says these people impacted by the contamination need good water and I agree. We shouldn’t be poisoning anybodys’ water.
- The contamination is moving south and will damn sure pollute Box Elder creek. Why is this issue not addressed?
- Why does one have to go as far as Black Hawk to dig a well into the Madison Aquifer? Maybe it’s because developers will also get to use water needed for the people impacted by the contamination. So, is the Air Force going to fund this project? Why can’t they use water from the line coming from Rapid City to serve the impacted people? They have used the water line before.
Let me state here and now that Ellsworth Air Force base is still on the Superfund site list, officially referred to as the National Priorities List [Marvin Kammerer, email to Dakota Free Press, 2022.01.15].
I invite readers, Box Elder residents, and other interested parties to check their water and ask Rapid City’s military-industrial complex if it is taking all reasonable steps to ensure a sustainable environment.