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EPA recognizes AFCEC-led cleanup success

Roger Walton, BRAC Environmental Coordinator, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, displays carbon and resin filtration materials currently used at groundwater treatment facilities located on the former Pease Air Force Base, near Portsmouth, NH, Feb. 12, 2020. There are two water treatment facilities at the former base, which are capable of removing PFOS/PFOA from the groundwater there at a combined rate of 800 gallons per minute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Malcolm McClendon).

Roger Walton, Base Realignment and Closure environmental coordinator, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, displays carbon and resin filtration materials currently used at groundwater treatment facilities located on the former Pease Air Force Base, near Portsmouth, N.H., Feb. 12, 2020. There are two water treatment facilities at the former base, which are capable of removing PFOS/PFOA from the groundwater there at a combined rate of 800 gallons per minute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Malcolm McClendon)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --

The Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing an Air Force Civil Engineer Center environmental coordinator and his team for work they’re doing to treat contaminated water at the former Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire.

The EPA announced in April it’s presenting the Federal Facility Response Outstanding Achievement Team award to Roger Walton, a base environmental coordinator in AFCEC’s Base Realignment and Closure division, and the team Walton leads, the Pease AFB PFAS Groundwater Treatment team, in removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “PFAS,” from groundwater. The team includes Mike Daly with EPA's Region 1, Peter Sandin with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Scott Hilton, a retiree from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

“What makes this award special is that it recognizes the teamwork necessary for project success,” Walton said. “We could have never accomplished such a significant undertaking in such a short amount of time without working together.”

The award is part of the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management annual National Notable Achievement Awards, which recognize the most extraordinary environmental accomplishments nationwide. The EPA noted the award at Pease AFB recognizes the team’s recent efforts and problem-solving skills to build a second groundwater treatment system. That system, combined with the first one installed, can treat upwards of 350 million gallons of contaminated groundwater annually.

“The team worked tirelessly to ensure this second system could be constructed and operated without impacting the operating airfield and surrounding businesses or impacting future reuse of the undeveloped parcels,” the EPA said in its award citation. “These treatment systems ensure the long-term safety of the Pease AFB drinking water sources as well as preserve and further the extensive redevelopment at the Pease International Tradeport, a robust economic engine for the New Hampshire seacoast.”

Dr. Stephen TerMaath, BRAC program director, said Walton and the team’s efforts are helping the Air Force and the state of New Hampshire lead the way nationally in remediation efforts.

“Receiving this national award from EPA demonstrates Roger’s excellent work to get things done and his outstanding ability to collaborate with many different parties throughout the process,” TerMaath said “Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of the drinking water; and Roger worked tirelessly to do just that.”

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