Fed report in on Greeley: Keweenaw County Brownfield Authority seeks document

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Signs throughout the former Calumet Air Force Base warn trespassers of asbestos. The Keweenaw County Brownfield Authority has been in discussions with the U.S. Air Force for a number of years regarding remediation of the former Calumet Radar Base. While the Air Force has conducted groundwater testing, it denies responsibility for lead-based paint and asbestos at the facility, claiming neither substance was used in the construction of the buildings.

EAGLE RIVER — The Keweenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has finally received a draft of a report from the federal government — sort of.

Brownfield Authority member Ray Chase said that a report from the United States Air Force regarding testing and inspections of the former Calumet Radar Base on Mt. Horace Greeley was expected before the end of 2017. It has been released, but Keweenaw County officials have not seen it, although the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has a copy of it.

“Unfortunately, we only had a week to open it online,” Chase said. “It’s 100 and some pages, but by the time I got the link to it, I couldn’t open it. One of our brownfield people does have it and I’m trying to arrange to get that sent along.”

Chase said that the County Board does not have a copy, nor does he, but he does have a synopsis of the report. The report, he said looks at the possibilities of what the Air Force might do to remediate problems, but exactly what they found, he said he does not yet know.

Contaminated water and test wells are not the only concern the Brownfield authority or the County Board have in regard to the property. Chase said there is asbestos on the site and lead-based paint, as well as oil spills. The Air Force has been denying any responsibility for those materials, saying they were not used in the construction of the facility.

What is frustrating, said Chase, is that when the other members of the Brownfield Authority toured the facility with an Air Force representative last summer, the representative flatly stated no asbestos was used in constructing the building. While they were discussing it, Chase said, they were standing in in piles of it on the floor of the structure that housed the radar, a structure that was not used or renovated after the Air Force abandoned the facility.

“The news is, it’s finally out,” Chase said regarding the draft. “So, the Brownfield Authority is still making progress.”

“That’s what we have right now. We’re waiting for MEDC to have time to review it. Now, my understanding is that could take up to five months, but they can’t do anything in winter anyhow.”