Looking at fresh test results from Dragun Corp., officials said Friday that contamination at the former Schilling Air Force Base is worse than expected in places and not so bad in others.
"In general, it has bolstered what we thought," said Matt Schroeder, manager of the remedial investigation at the former base and areas surrounding it.
But there also were "some surprises," he said.
During a news conference Friday morning at the City-County Building, Schroeder, a senior environmental engineer for Dragun, a consulting firm from Farmington Hills, Mich., and Michael Sklash, senior hydrologist, updated the public on work accomplished since May.
Dragun was hired by the Salina public entities - city of Salina, Salina Airport Authority, Kansas State University and Salina School District - to map a plan for cleaning up the contamination left by military operations at the former base, which closed in 1965.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is overseeing the investigation.
The entities learned over the past 20 years that a plume of pollution, primarily the solvent TCE, or trichloroethylene, is in the soil and groundwater that is moving toward city water wells.
TCE, a carcinogen, was used as a degreaser to wash aircraft and weapons at the base.
Some of the higher concentrations in the Airport Industrial Area are more than 10,000 parts per billion, while other spots show levels within the safety threshold of 5 parts per billion or less in water.