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Haley & Aldrich launches a major airport cleanup in Kingman, Arizona

Black-and-white photos of aircraft disposal work in Kingman, Arizona, following World War II.

Photo above on left: Aircraft disposal in Kingman, Arizona, following World War II. Photo above on right: Inspecting cast aluminum following smelting in Kingman.

Burlington, Mass., Oct. 23, 2023 — Haley & Aldrich has begun work to remove hazardous aluminum dross from the Kingman Municipal Airport in Arizona. When the design-build project finishes, expected in summer 2024, the Haley & Aldrich team will have resolved a decades-old problem for the city of Kingman.

Earlier this year, Haley & Aldrich characterized over 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and aluminum dross at the site. The team will now remove the dross, transport it off-site for disposal, and reconstruct excavated areas — work that will lay the groundwork for an airport expansion.

Just after World War II, the U.S. military moved thousands of unneeded aircraft to the airport — then an Army facility — for storage and disposal. The planes were processed in the late 1940s to recycle the aluminum, and the waste from smelting the aluminum (aluminum dross) was left on-site.

Dump truck and bulldozer at aircraft disposal site in Kingman, Arizona
Haley & Aldrich’s construction team at the Kingman project site

Aluminum dross contains high levels of the toxic metals cadmium and lead, and it reacts with water to generate heat and a flammable gas that contains ammonia. Although the dross at Kingman Municipal Airport was buried and capped with asphalt in 2000, water infiltrated the asphalt cap during the region’s heavy summer rains. This infiltration caused the tarmac to heave and fracture, disrupting ongoing airport operations.

“Kingman has wrestled with problems related to this dross for years,” said Haley & Aldrich’s Pejman Eshraghi, who is managing work at the airport. “It’s a pleasure to be a part of a long-term solution that will benefit the airport and the city as a whole.”

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