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Jul-25-2008 09:30TweetFollow @OregonNews
El Toro Water Contamination Reports Will ContinueTim King Salem-News.com
Technical delays have slowed down progress but a number of reports will soon be posted.
(IRVINE, Calif.) - I have spent the last several days in the area of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in what is now Irvine, California, investigating the status of the water contamination that stems from the former air base.
For those who not familiar. El Toro, in the heart of Orange County, California, is an EPA "Super Fund" site and contamination in the groundwater here is connected to TCE- trichloroethylene, perchlorate and other chemicals. The base is being developed into a public park under the "Great Parks Corporation" in Orange County and also is the site of new home construction.
Irvine, California's mantra is that it is the safest city in America, but mounting evidence from a number of sources including the Navy and the EPA, tell a story of decades of environmental abuse.
An underground "plume" of TCE has traveled several miles from the base and now occupies an area in one of California's most affluent neighborhoods, according to documents released by the U.S. Navy. The depth of the TCE plume at El Toro which is considered "Ground Zero" is at the immediate surface. In Irvine it is approximately 150 feet below ground level.
This series began after I was contacted by former and current Marines who have dealt with serious health issues which are believed to be tied to the El Toro Marine base.
A small amount of inquiry led me to a steadfast group of Marines and Marine family members on the east coast who explained that the problems at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune in North Carolina are even worse. The Camp Lejeune matters have gaining more attention in recent months.
El Toro today is a ghost town. The hangars stand in stark testimony to the mass of humanity that once occupied this place. Jets constantly roared into the air here and Marines used this base from World War Two until 1999 when El Toro was closed and billions were spent relocating the Marines to Miramar, California in San Diego County under BRAC- the government's Base Realignment and Closure Process.
El Toro was the base depicted in the movie "Independence Day" which cast Will Smith as the Marine Corps FA/18 jet fighter pilot who helped save the earth from alien invaders. While that is just Hollywood fantasy, it does speak to the importance of this former base as it was the Marine Corps flagship and the former home of the 3rd Marine Air Wing. Many people believe the base should never have been closed and that national security was weakened in doing so.
I had planned to have at least one more video report published at this point, but technical issues have slowed that progress to a snail's pace. I hope to have part two in the video series up today. There is a great deal of information to be revealed in this first series, thanks for your patience. Salem-News.com is a small, powerful news organization that invests largely in covering issues related to the military and our veterans.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Today, in addition to his role as a war correspondent in Afghanistan where he spent the winter of 2006/07, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators. Tim's coverage from Iraq that was set to begin in April has been delayed and may not take place until August, 2008. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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