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Pollution Accident Unearthed in Keflavík?

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Pollution Accident Unearthed in Keflavík?

Tar pollution in Keflavík.

Tar at the construction site in Keflavík. Photo: Hilmar Bragi Bárðarson/Víkurfréttir.

The Suðurnes Public Health Authority has halted road construction in an area called Flugvellir in Keflavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, due to tar pollution, Víkurfréttir reports. The area used to be a trash dump site for the US naval air station which was closed in 2006.

Large amounts of tar have been unearthed, as well as metal waste. The Health Authority fears that persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as PCB, could be present in the soil. Scientists are collecting samples to determine what chemicals are present. According to Víkurfréttir, a major pollution accident may be about to be revealed.

When construction was halted, large amounts of soil, containing iron waste, had already been transported from the area and unloaded at Ásbrú, also on the Reykjanes peninsula. Employees of the Health Authority became suspicious when they noticed iron waste in one of the loads being transported.

Most lots in Flugvellir have already been allocated, since the construction of a new neighborhood was scheduled to begin this summer. That plan is now in turmoil.

Tar flows from the soil in the area, and Magnús Guðjónsson, who works for the Suðurnes Public Health Authority, fears that tar, used by the US Navy for paving runways at Keflavík International Airport, was disposed off at the site. Judging by the amount of trash unearthed, he also fears that car batteries may be among the items disposed of.

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