Tri-County Public Airport Site

Site Background

The Tri-County Public Airport (TCPA) Site is located in rural Morris County approximately eight miles east of Herington, Kansas; more specifically in Sections 31 and 32, Township 15 South, and Sections 5, 6, and 18, Township 16 South, all in Range 6 East of the Delavan Kansas Quadrangle. The total area of the TCPA, including the former runways, is around 3.5 square miles. The City of Latimer, Kansas, is located about three miles north of the TCPA in the northwest of Section 23, Township 15 South, Range 2 East.

  1. History
  2. Remediation
  3. Documents

Site History

The property was developed in the early 1940s as the Herington Army Airfield (HAAF) and deactivated in 1946. The facility was used for processing aircraft crews and heavy equipment and contained several buildings, including three general maintenance hangars, a large sub-depot (Hangar 1), and a motor pool. The property ownership was conveyed to the City of Herington in 1948.

The TCPA Site was discovered in connection with assessment work conducted between 1994 and 1996 by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) investigating petroleum contamination associated with former site operations of HAAF. The investigation identified the chlorinated solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater. Beech Aircraft Company (Beech), the predecessor to Raytheon Aircraft Corporation (Raytheon), leased four hangars and several other buildings at the Site from 1950 until the early 1960s. Beech used TCE as a solvent in degreasers located in Hangars 1 and 4.

In 1989 TCE and carbon tetrachloride (CT) (a grain fumigant) were detected in groundwater samples collected in the nearby town of Latimer located three miles northwest of the TCPA Site. These findings, along with the ACOE investigation findings, prompted a series of investigations by EPA and KDHE at the TCPA Site and nearby private wells. The CT source was determined to be associated with the Latimer Agri-Services facility, and groundwater monitoring is currently being conducted by KDHE's State Water Plan/Orphans Site Program as the Latimer Groundwater Contamination Site (See Project Code: C5-064-70590).