Last week ProPublica launched an investigative series that the nonprofit news organization says includes the first-ever public map of U.S. military toxic waste and munitions dumps across the country, as well as the cleanup estimates for each site.
Featured in the provocatively titled “Bombs in Your Backyard” interactive map are several such contaminated sites in North Texas. Compared to other parts of the country (just look at all those dots in New Mexico), Dallas-Fort Worth is relatively pristine when it comes to military waste sites, but the map does include underground storage tanks at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth classified as posing a “high risk” for groundwater contamination, and a medium risk “unexploded munitions and ordnance area” at a former bombing range near Arlington’s Walnut Greek Golf Course. The former site is expected to be cleaned up by September 2018 at an estimated cost of $451,000. The latter is now home to a trailer park and residences, although Department of Defense improvements (“target bull’s eye rings and a boundary fence”) should keep residents away from explosive hazards, ProPublica helpfully notes.
The map also includes sites where cleanup has been completed, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars such cleanups often cost the government. The first installment in the ProPublica series takes an especially close look at burn sites, which have the potential to release toxins that could harm people living, working, or going to school nearby. There are none particularly close to North Texas, and there’s no reason to think that any of us here are presently in danger of immediate harm from military waste disposal. But it’s an interesting look at the process, costs, and potential hazards of the unexploded ordnance in our backyard. More here.