My friend Marvin Kammerer from Meade Count has a few questions about the Superfund site known as Ellsworth Air Force Base. Specifically, he wants to know about the base and Ellsworth Development Authority’s plan to provide free water to nearby residents whose wells have been contaminated by the military. Mr. Kammerer says he sent those questions to his local newspaper and other state publications, but got no response.
Referring to an article written by Siandara Bonnet and printed in the Rapid City Journal on November 13, 2021. I have a few questions that Scott Landguth of the Ellsworth Development Authority or the Commander of Ellsworth Air Force Base at the next Black Hills Forum must respond. and meeting of the Press Club.
- Why didn’t Ellsworth prep the area where they practice firefighting with foam before using that dangerous PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) chemical that is already poisoning the ground and water of twenty-six wells southwest of Ellsworth? If in doubt, Google “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 indicates that there are problems from the southwest of the base to New Underwood.
- Scott Landguth says the Air Force does not supply water from the base but I have to ask why the water line to the base was taken from the west side of Dyess Road to supply water water at the Airstream Travel Trailer convention a few years ago. The boys in blue were all gathered there when they tapped that eighteen inch water pipe coming from Rapid City. Landguth says those affected by contamination need good water and I agree. We shouldn’t poison anyone’s water.
- Contamination is moving south and will likely pollute Box Elder Creek. Why is this issue not addressed?
- Why do you have to go all the way to Black Hawk to dig a well in the Madison Aquifer? This may be because the developers will also be able to use the water needed by those affected by the contamination. So, will the Air Force fund this project? Why can’t they use the water from the pipe coming from Rapid City to serve the affected people? They have already used the water pipe.
Let me state here and now that Ellsworth Air Force Base is still on the list of Superfund sites, officially called the National Priorities List. [Marvin Kammerer, email to Dakota Free Press, 2022.01.15].
I urge readers, residents of Box Elder, and other interested parties to check their water and ask the Rapid City Military-Industrial Complex if it is taking all reasonable steps to ensure environmental sustainability.