Authorities at the Beale Air Force Base in California have an on-going project to clean up groundwater pollutants at sites 32/1 & 17 as seen in the image to the left. This project is part of a larger effort to clean up an estimated 39 sites around the base over the next several decades; the total projected cost of these remediation projects is estimated to be a staggering $200 Million.
You may ask what they will be doing to these specific sites that will end up costing such a great amount of federal tax-payers money. At Site 17, the Yuba County Environmental Health Department and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control will be overseeing the construction of a "slurry wall around a plume of contaminated groundwater to keep it from migrating off base. The slurry wall will be made of soil, bentonite, water, cement and other materials, which are mixed into the ground to form a barrier that water will not pass through." Which will be built next to a previously installed wall of the same character. While at Site 32/1 "experts propose to oxidize the contaminated soil. This is done by drilling a well near the site and using a vacuum to pull out and then treat vaporized gases from groundwater."
Now you may ask why the Yuba County Environmental Health Department and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control propose such costly projects for the Beale Air Force Base. An economic Damage Assessment would have been conducted wherein the authorities estimate the value of damages done onto the injured resource (groundwater) so those costs can be recovered in court, or use said amount for the mandated remediation projects to correct the damages done onto said resource.
Is it fair to impose such expensive mandates onto the Beale Air Force Base? I certainly think so, any organization must be held responsible for damages done onto a public resource such as groundwater, the effects of their damages reach a much greater community than that of the base itself; therefore, remediation is absolutely necessary do to the greater effects it has beyond the monetary costs the organization will incur.