Travis Environmental Project Managers to Address Conference By Merrie Schilter-Lowe 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Glenn Anderson and Lonnie Duke know a lot about environmental cleanup and restoration. So much, in fact, they have been invited to share this knowledge with the rest of the Air Force, industry and academia. The environmental project managers with the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron at Travis will be two of the keynote speakers at the 2010 Restoration and Technology Transfer Workshop in San Antonio April 6-10. They will also chair discussions on phytoremediation and bioreactors. Phytoremediation uses trees to remove solvents from the subsurface while bioreactors use biological and chemical processes to do the same thing. Air Force set a deadline of 2012 for all bases to have remedies in place to clean up or reduce the risk of contaminated soil and groundwater left by past industrial operations and practices. "Travis is almost there now," said Mr. Duke. He said proposed remedies will be ready for regulatory and public review later this year. The workshop will bring together hundreds of professionals - including local, state and federal agencies - to share ideas, case histories, current trends and technologies and visit exhibits of the latest equipment, products and services to assist in environmental restoration. "This will be our last opportunity to share strategies before the 2012 deadline," Mr. Anderson said. "After that, it will be too late to share meaningful advice." Since Travis began cleanup efforts in 1984, the environmental restoration team has cleaned up nine major soil sites and identified cost-effective remedies to clean up 23 groundwater sites. Travis began installing solar-powered pumps in 2005 to cleanup parts of the base where electricity was not readily available. The success of that project convinced Air Force to test another solar-powered cleanup technique at Travis - the bioreactor. Basically, a bioreactor is a pit filled with mulch, iron filings or vegetable oil that is surrounded by a network of extraction and injection wells. "Contaminated ground water runs through the bioreactor and is cleaned by biological and chemical processes," said Mr. Duke. "The wells re-circulate the water through the reactive material to complete the process." The wells run on solar power. Phytoremediation is another cost-saving clean up strategy the Air Force funded at Travis. In 1998, the environmental restoration team planted a large grove of eucalyptus trees on the western side of the base. The team hoped the trees would absorb solvents, release enzymes to destroy contamination and move dissolved solvents through the sap and out the branches and the leaves. A team from an environmental and engineering consulting firm and Utah State University conducted field test last summer to see how well the roots of the largest trees are absorbing contaminants. Travis will find out later this year if phytoremediation works well enough to be part of an overall groundwater remedy, Mr. Anderson said.