They have been gone for ten years and state officials want to make sure missile silos that once threatened the old Soviet Union don’t threaten Missouri groundwater.
Hotel 11, named by the Air Force, was destroyed mid-December 1997 near Dederick, the last missile silo to be imploded. It ended an era in western Missouri; an era when that part of the state became a major target during the Cold War. Minuteman II missiles controlled by Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster dotted the countryside.
Larry Erickson with the State Department of Natural Resources says the Air Force took care when it decommissioned and destroyed the missiles. It kept the environment in mind when it imploded the missile silos, especially after discovering that waterproofing on the concrete contained the contaminant PCB. DNR has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure that contaminants once used to keep water out of the silos don’t leach into the groundwater over the long-term. Erickson says an initial agreement didn’t look far enough down the road. The new agreement gives responsibilities to DNR, EPA and the Air Force to make sure the groundwater is not contaminated and that nothing disturbs the concrete, plastic and soil caps installed at each site.
Erickson says an extensive, five-year groundwater study assured officials that no contaminates have gotten into the groundwater from the destroyed Minuteman II missile silos.