Former Griffiss AFB wins national excellence award for site reuse

  • Published
  • Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized former Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, Dec. 8, as a 2021 Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse winner.

Closed in 1995 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act, or BRAC, the 3,600-acre base has been transformed into an economic hub for the community of Rome, New York. The area is now referred to as Griffiss Business and Technology Park, which includes Griffiss International Airport, numerous businesses, and the New York Air National Guard Base.

This transition was made possible by diligent environmental remediation and restoration efforts led by the department’s Air Force Civil Engineer Center, with oversight by the EPA, New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Department of Health, which paved the way for redevelopment.

“What has been accomplished here is amazing … the Griffiss Business and Technology Park is an excellent example of what can happen when we work together to accomplish a common goal,” said Mark Correll, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for environment, safety, and infrastructure at the award ceremony. “A goal that not only protects our environment for years to come, but also provides the greater region with continued economic growth and vitality.”

In 1987, EPA placed Griffiss AFB on their National Priority List, as there were more than 80 sites on the installation affecting soil, groundwater, and drinking water. When the base was placed on the closure list in 1993, the Department of the Air Force worked closely with local officials to coordinate cleanup and prioritize parcels for reuse. Remediation was provided to address findings of solvents, lead, and volatile organic compounds at sites identified for cleanup across the base. By 2009, the EPA was able to remove Griffiss AFB from the NPL. Totaling 2,887 acres, the removal represented one of the largest delistings ever of a BRAC NPL site.

With over $175 million in restoration investment, more than 4.5 square miles of Griffiss AFB now bear the EPA's stamp of approval.