NOVATO, Calif. - A walkthrough of the former Hamilton Army Airfield was conducted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District representatives for members of the Hamilton Restoration Advisory Board and the public Aug. 19.

Led by Karole Ward, senior project manager for the project with the Sacramento District, the walkthrough concentrated on the former base's north antenna field (NAF), the final portion of the base to require environmental cleanup. The Corps of Engineers is cleaning up NAF under the Department of Defense's Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) program.

The NAF was previously used for rifle and pistol ranges, a skeet range, grenade practice, and an antenna support facility, which housed several fuel tanks. These uses resulted in soil contaminated with lead, petroleum, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and dioxins.

The cleanup will include excavating, staging and testing the soil. Soil that does not meet state contamination levels will be removed and hauled to appropriate landfills; soil that meets state reuse levels will be used for nearby construction projects such as in the core of the Bel Marin Key V flood control levee, and to build an access road for nearby wetland restoration. A large portion of the nearby wetlands have been restored through ongoing work by the Corps' San Francisco District.

Last fall, work was done at the NAF in preparation of the proposed cleanup. Roads were improved to support the heavy equipment; vegetation and other materials were removed, and surveys were completed. Preparation is now complete and the district is ready to move forward with the cleanup at Hamilton.

The district worked closely with state regulators on putting into place a plan for the removal of contaminated soil. Incorporated into this plan are health and safety procedures, dust mitigation protocols and a tailored transportation plan with neighboring communities to minimize the impact on them during the removal.

Upon completion of the NAF project, the Corps of Engineers will evaluate the effectiveness of the cleanup. Once the remediation is complete the State Coastal Conservancy will incorporate this area into their wetland restoration project.