Chemical contamination is holding up the redevelopment plans for Hensley Field that the City of Dallas recently unveiled.
The site used to host a Naval Air Station, which was decommissioned in 1998, however, underlying chemical contamination has been an issue for years, and it has put the City at odds with the U.S. Navy.
Decades of use by the military have left the site, its abandoned buildings, and nearby Mountain Creek Lake contaminated with metals, toxic chemicals, asbestos, lead-based paint, and other contaminants.
Despite $92 million of federal taxpayer money having already been spent on cleanup by the Navy, which it is legally obligated to complete per court order, the area remains polluted. It will need to be cleaned further before construction can proceed.
A memo by the City detailed the state of the contamination and cleanup efforts, stating, “Groundwater remediation has been partially completed and remains in progress.”
“However, an emerging class of chemicals known as PFAS… which were components in firefighting foams used/stored on site by the Navy have been identified in soil, groundwater, sediment, and surface water and are currently being investigated by the Navy,” the memo read.
Mayor Eric Johnson plans to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with the Navy for clarification on the scheduled cleanup. However, the timeline for the visit has not been made clear.
The City recently unveiled plans to repurpose the 738 acres of land. Artistic renderings of the proposed project depict a vibrant community with tall buildings, a lakeside beach, and waterways with bridges over them. The plan claims that 12,000 new jobs and residents would populate the development, with 6,800 dwelling units and 3.7 million square feet of industrial, commercial, and institutional space, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Johnson has voiced his support for the development, calling it “an area of untapped potential, a hidden gem in the city.”