ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Members of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) visited several sites on APG South during its annual tour Feb. 16.

The purpose of the tour is to show APG's environmental progress and create trust and transparency within the community, according to Installation Restoration Project Officer Rurik Loder, who led the tour along with the chief of the Environmental Planning and Sustainability Branch Cindy Smith and Environmental Protection Specialist Karen Jobes.

The RAB was established at APG in 1994 to improve information flow between the Army and the local community regarding the Army's environmental cleanup program.

The board discusses ongoing studies, the status of cleanup projects, accomplishments, upcoming activities and schedules. APG's Environmental Restoration Program, Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division leads this effort.

"All contamination on APG relates past mission actions," said Loder. "In the past the Army was not aware of how certain actions affected the environment."

Loder said the American public became more aware and concerned with environmental issues in the 1970s, after it was revealed that Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, N.Y., had been used to bury 21 thousand tons of toxic waste. As a result, people demanded change and the Army started to examine how they can clean up the environment.

During last week's RAB tour, attendees visited the Canal Creek Water Treatment Plant. Established in 2003, the plan has treated 508 million gallons of water from the Canal Creek aquifer on APG and is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOC). Loder said this project will continue for at least 50 years.

After visiting the plant, the tour stopped by the 26th Street Project. Last year DPW removed 1,122 tons of arsenic-contaminated soil and 10.7 tons of asbestos-containing material from three shallow areas at the former Radiation Yard Site. This project was completed last month.

The RAB also visited the 22nd Street Landfill Site--previously a marsh area that was filled with trash and construction debris.

"This site was considered time-critical due to concerns regarding shoreline erosion along the Bush River," Loder said.

Last summer DPW completed this project by covering the landfill with soil and constructed shoreline stabilization.

After the landfill site, the RAB moved onto the Nike Site, an ongoing restoration project managed by Loder. He said contaminated groundwater is treated from Lauderek Creek. The soil in the area, which is also contaminated, will be treated with sodium bicarbonate.

"We are scheduled to meet our objective by 2015," he said.

Arlen Crabb, a concerned citizen and Aberdeen resident, has been active with the board since 1995. Crabb said the tour helps members visualize locations that are discussed during meetings.

"Being retired military I was interested in what APG was doing, were they keep our community safe, were they doing any harm," he said. "I have seen many changes on APG over the years."

The tour comes on the heels of the announcement that the APG Environmental Restoration Program won the 2012 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Restoration. This award evaluates environmental programs on Army installations across the United States and recognizes programs that go above and beyond to improve the quality of the environment.

RAB meetings are open to the public. Copies of the minutes of the monthly are placed in APG's information repositories at the Aberdeen and Edgewood branches of the Harford County Library and Miller Library at Washington College in Kent County. Copies also are available at the Joppa and Cecilton libraries.

For more information about RAB or APG's environmental cleanup program, call 410-272-8842 or 1-800-APG-9998, or visit www.apg.army.mil/apghome/sites/directorates/DPW/environment/Restoration/index.cfm.