Visit to Loring AFB Superfund Site

By Bevin P. Engelward

MIT Superfund Program Director

In August 2018, MIT SRP Program Director Prof. Bevin Engelward, Co-Director Prof. John Essigmann, and Community Engagement Core Leader Dr. Kathleen Vandiver traveled to the Loring Air Force Base Superfund site.

The former Loring AFB is contaminated with a variety of harmful chemicals, including PCBs, PAHs, and PFAS at different sites around the property. Following extensive remediation, the land was divided into parcels, one of which was given to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. However, subsequent testing revealed that contamination remains at unsafe levels for food gathering or residences. There is also an advisory that fish should not be eaten due to dangerously high contamination by PCBs, and volatile organic chemicals continue to intrude into buildings left behind.

The MIT SRP team met with Peter Forbes of the US Air Force and Fred Corey’s team at the Micmac Environmental Lab to discuss the current status of the site and to explore the site on foot. The team gained improved understanding of the site’s geography and locations of contaminants, including in remediated areas. Tribal environmental concerns were discussed with Mr. Corey, and the team continues to work with both Mr. Corey and Mr. Forbes to develop specific plans for MIT-driven research. The team plans to return to collect soil, sediment and water samples to test for the presence of carcinogens, including N-nitrosodimethylamine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the focus of the MIT SRP.