Contract awarded to clean up former Castle and Norton Air Force bases

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Air Force officials have awarded a multi-year performance-based contract to CH2M HILL, Inc. to perform environmental activities at the former Castle Air Force Base near Atwater, Calif., and the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, Calif. This $8.18 million contract runs through 2015. 

The objective is completion of as many environmental cleanup sites as possible and process optimization of the few remaining sites at both former bases.
Air Force cleanup has been ongoing at both Castle and Norton since the 1980s.  Norton closed in 1994 and Castle closed in 1995.  While all major decisions have been made for these sites, some remaining activities require long-term operation and maintenance. 

This competitive bid performance-based contract saves the Air Force approximately $10.8 million by allowing private industry to compete on a large comprehensive cleanup project over a six and a half year timeframe, rather than bidding on specific cleanup tasks on an annual basis. The savings are realized by focusing the work on results rather than specific methods or technologies to be used. The multi-year and dual-base contract results in cost savings through streamlined contracting and lower overhead for the Air Force. 

Performance-based contracts are relatively new within the Air Force environmental cleanup program. In 2006, Air Force Real Property Agency officials revised their approach from a task-specific cleanup approach to a long-term objective-based approach. This long-term contract enables CH2M HILL engineers to carry out selected remedies tailored to the specific site requirements, and emphasizes best management practices and innovative approaches and technologies. 

"We are proud to be selected under a best-value criteria to work as a team with the Air Force and the regulatory agencies to bring these bases to ultimate closure," said Campbell McLeod, CH2M HILL project manager. 

Although CH2M HILL now has the contract to clean up the sites at Castle and Norton, Air Force environmentalists remain responsible for the programs and all cleanup decisions, as specified in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.  All technologies and remedies that CH2M HILL specialists apply to the cleanup must be approved by Air Force officials as well as officials in federal and state regulatory agencies. 

"An important thing to remember is the Air Force is still in the lead role for the cleanup," said Phil Mook of the AFRPA. "Our role in working with the state and federal regulators, as well as the community has not changed." 

This competitive performance-based contract was awarded by Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment officials who jointly manage and implement the cleanup programs with AFRPA. This single award for the cleanup at two bases is only the second such dual-site contract the agencies have awarded. 

Stanley Pehl, AFCEE program manager, said CH2M HILL was selected because of their experience and proposed technical approach. The approach includes innovative site characterization methods and aggressive optimization technologies that are compatible with the existing cleanup objectives. 

"This is another example of how we are making every effort to leverage the best of what private industry has to offer to get the cleanup done as quickly as possible, and in the most-cost effective manner," Mr. Mook said.