Contaminated Military Bases:
- Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow
- El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (decommissioned)
- Mather Air Force Base
- McClellan Air Force Base
- March Air Force Base
- Norton Air Force Base
- Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base
24 Bases with reported TCE water contamination
(Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)
Mather Air Force Base
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Mather Air Force Base is located in the Central Valley region of Northern California, approximately 10 miles east of Sacramento and immediately south of Rancho Cordova. The base ultimately encompassed approximately 5,850 acres and operated as a pilot and navigator training post from 1918 through 1993, when it was closed under the Department of Defense (DOD) Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act of 1988. Currently, much of the base is undergoing commercial redevelopment and reuse.
While Mather was an active duty base, hazardous materials, such as fuel oils, lubricants, solvents, and protective coatings, were used in the operation and maintenance of aircraft. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) began to identify locations where these materials might have been released after the 1982 DOD Installation Restoration Program commenced. Mather was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) National Priorities List on November 21, 1989, because of contamination released during past disposal practices and accidental spills of hazardous materials. The USAF has identified 89 sites and four groundwater contaminant plumes at Mather and has completed investigations of these areas. Site remediation and preparation of Records of Decision are underway.
Communities around Mather depend on groundwater as the primary drinking water source. Groundwater contamination on and off the base is the most important and widespread exposure situation at Mather
While Mather was active, the operation and maintenance of aircraft, small arms, radar equipment, vehicles, and other equipment, as well as dry cleaning activities, required the use of toxic and hazardous materials. These materials included fuel, oils, lubricants, solvents, protective coatings, and weed and pest control mixtures. One solvent, trichloroethylene (TCE), was used from 1958 through 1974 by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and until as late as 1992 by the Army National Guard, who have also been stationed at Mather. These materials may have been disposed or spilled onto the ground or into unlined ditches and may have resulted in contamination found throughout the base (USAF 1994a).