AIR FORCE TO AID IN CLEANUP

AIR FORCE TO AID IN CLEANUP

The Air Force has agreed to pay as much as $27 million of the cleanup costs at two hazardous waste dump sites used by the Boeing Co., court papers revealed.

In a deposition taken for a lawsuit between Boeing and its insurers, Stephen Trautwein, a local Air Force contract manager, said the cleanup was considered part of "ordinary and necessary business costs."Mr. Trautwein said the cleanup costs at the two sites - Western Processing in Kent and Queen City Farms in Maple Valley - were negotiated as a separate item between Boeing and Air Force contract officers.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington, D.C., told the Seattle Post- Intelligenc er Tuesday that "it is not standard procedure" for the Defense Department to reimburse a contractor for hazardous waste cleanup costs.

However, a spokeswoman at the Air Force Contract Management Division in Albuquerque, N.M., said the Air Force agreed to pay a portion of the costs at the two sites because the service considered the cleanups "necessary and normal business expenses."

A Boeing spokesman said, "In general, those costs are recognized as usual and accepted costs of doing business. It was something we worked out with the Air Force," the Post-Intelligencer reported, without naming its sources.

Boeing dumped about 24 million gallons of hazardous waste at the sites between 1957 and 1977. The company has estimated the cost of cleanup at more than $80 million.

Boeing signed a consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to pay most of the cleanup costs after the EPA closed the two sites in the early 1980s.

Boeing already has spent about $40 million to clean up the sites, but it was not known whether that amount included Air Force funds, the Post- Intelligencer reported.

Boeing has maintained that it did not knowingly pollute the two sites.

Boeing has told its insurers it could be liable for cleanups in 13 other toxic waste dumps sites around the United States. Those sites include several that contain waste from its military work.