AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Pantex plant has undergone many changes since 1942 when it was a top source of munitions during World War II.
One of those changes over the decades includes the need to protect the environment here in the Panhandle.
“We take care of the environment for several reasons. We are under several regulations which we follow, so we have to control our waste, but we also have to clean up our waste from legacy practices,” said Pantex Senior Engineer Project Specialist Michelle Jarrett. “Taking care of the environment is important because we all live here, we work here, we’re part of the community here. So, we’re not only taking care of ourselves, we’re taking care of the people we work with and our neighbors here.”
Pantex holds an environmental stewardship public meeting every November in Panhandle.
It gives scientists a chance to explain the use of legacy environmental contaminants to concerned citizens and how they’re being dealt with for the safety of the community.
“During the Cold War era, the high explosives were manufactured and the wastewaters were basically pushed out the door with little to no pre-treatment," said Manager of Environmental Project at Pantex Tony Biggs. "Over those decades of high explosive manufacturing, we had contamination seep down toward the groundwater. It reached an upper groundwater level called the Perched Aquifer. We’ve got a number of technologies we employ to remediate that contamination.”
“We have another technology that actually treats the contamination at the groundwater level," said Biggs. "We actually feed naturally occurring bacteria in the aquifer, and then as the water flows through and the contamination flows through that bacteria, they tear apart the contaminants and at the back end of that zone is clean water.”
Pantex also has a wildlife biologist on site to assure the protection of animals in the region.
“We consider wildlife in all of our land management activities. We keep track of wildlife, as far as what we have, what numbers. We do all kinds of surveys. We’ve had studies ranging from satellite tracking of bobcat,” said Pantex Wildlife Biologist Jim Ray. “We’ve done quite a bit with the wind energy and the development that’s happening all around us, mainly with migratory birds, but also bats.”
For more information on this year’s environmental stewardship meeting, call (806)-477-3000.