Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Toxic PCB detected in former US Navy waste dump near Keflavík Airport

By Staff

  • Pollution Tar seeps out of the ground at the construction site. Thousands of barrels of the stuff might be buried underground. Photo/Víkurfréttir.

A small amount of the toxic chemical PCB was detected in the soil at a construction site that turned out to have been a waste dump for the US Navy near Keflavík International Airport. Rusted and corroded metal has been unearthed and tar has seeped out of the ground at the site. A health official for the town of Reykjanesbær says no other toxic chemicals or heavy metals have been found there.

The waste dump was discovered during road work in preparation for construction on a new commercial area in Reykjanesbær a couple of weeks ago. The local health inspector took soil samples to determine if any toxic chemicals were present. The National Broadcasting Service RÚV now reports that PCB has been discovered but within legal limits.

Read more: Photos: Toxic dump from US Navy halts road works near Keflavik Airport

The waste comes from the US Navy. It ran an air base at Keflavík Airport for decades until 2006.

US Navy Waste dump, Keflavík
Waste metal The site used to be a waste dump for the US Navy. Photo/Víkurfréttir.

Probably thousands of barrels of tar underground
A 2001 environmental report commissioned by the municipal authorities found that the US Navy had most likely buried thousands of barrels of tar at the site. Despite the existence of the report and the fact that the current mayor lead the committee that produced it, both local authorities and the contractor were surprised when vast amounts of waste were found once construction began.

According to RÚV, the site will be cleaned up. It will fall on the town authorities to dispose of the waste.

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