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Cleaning Up Fort McClellan: Matrix’s Environmental Remediation

04 June 2024

For over 16 years, Matrix has been tackling one of the largest privatized environmental cleanup projects in the U.S. at the former Fort McClellan base in Anniston, Alabama. From 1946 to 1970, Landfill 3 and the Fill Area Northwest of Reilly Airfield were used to dispose of waste without any protective barriers. This allowed harmful chemicals to seep into the soil and groundwater, spreading about 2,000 feet from the original sites. 

To prevent rainwater from leaching more contaminants into the groundwater, Matrix covered the old landfills with an engineered low-permeability cap. In 2017, we began a two-part strategy to clean the groundwater. The first part involved injecting 17 wells with 438,000 gallons of an eco-friendly mix of vegetable oil, nutrients, and beneficial bacteria into the ground to break down the pollutants naturally. Continuous groundwater monitoring has revealed positive results, with contamination levels dropping significantly. The second part of our strategy is monitored natural attenuation and involves continuing to track the groundwater to ensure it stays clean. 

As we move forward, our team is focused on one area that still has higher levels of contamination than desired. To better understand this hot spot and plan further action, Matrix installed seven new monitoring wells this year. Our team is now preparing an Underground Injection Control permit for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and is aiming to start this next phase in the Fall.