North Wind Inc. remediates groundwater at former missile site

North Wind Inc., a CIRI company, is currently working under contract with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at a former nuclear missile site outside of Windsor, Colo.

Groundwater at the site was identified as contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) in 1994. TCE is an industrial solvent used primarily in metal degreasing and cleaning. TCE was used at the Atlas site to clean missile fuel tanks and lines. The groundwater at the site occurs in an impermeable sandstone bedrock layer that poses significant challenges to conventional groundwater remediation techniques.

Exposure to TCE can lead to negative short-term health effects on the central nervous system ranging from headache, dizziness and confusion to unconsciousness and death at higher levels. TCE is known to cause kidney cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and liver cancer.

North Wind Inc. is using a unique combination of hydraulic fracturing and innovative groundwater remediation technology to clean the large volume of contaminated groundwater at the site. Hydraulic fracturing is natural gas drilling technique involving high-pressure injection of water, sand and other compounds, if needed, to break up underground rock formations.

“This project sets North Wind Inc. apart as a technological leader and innovator capable of cleaning up toxic threats to our nation’s groundwater. I’m pleased that a CIRI-owned company is doing this complex technical work. North Wind has established itself as the go-to contractor for complex environmental clean-up,” said Greg Razo, CIRI vice president of government contracting.

Early evaluations show that treated areas have reduced the TCE level by up to 82 percent of pre-injection levels and the USACE, state and federal regulators have agreed to apply this technology to the remaining portions of this site.