News: Poo Pond black water circling drain for final time
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The black water level in Kandahar Airfield’s infamous Poo Pond is decreasing as the final drainage of the iconic, brackish lake continues. By early winter, most of the pond area near the intersection of All-American Boulevard and Louisiana Road promises to appear just like any other non-descript vacant plot of land on KAF.
“Newcomers to KAF in April 2013 will have no idea the Poo Pond was ever here and they’ll have no idea what the pond ever looked like,” said a NATO support agency spokesperson on KAF.
Poo Pond’s retirement process began Sept. 3 with the migration of all sewage suction trucks to the new Deep South Waste Water Treatment Plant. One day later, the drainage of Poo Pond cells 2-4 began with the pond’s black water being pumped through the Deep South plant for effluent treatment. (Poo Pond, referred to by officials as the existing waste water treatment plant, consists of four triangular cells or sub-ponds.)
The expanding capability of the new waste water treatment, which will be fully operational by Oct. 1, marked the end of the effective lifecycle for Poo Pond. Poo Pond was built as the sole waste water treatment facility on the base; coalition forces began managing waste water treatment on the airbase in 2007.
Cell one will be the last visible cell. It will not be drained until Jan. 13, 2013, because it contains kitchen grease materials that require a special disposal method.
Once the cells are drained, each area will dry for 3-4 weeks. Once completely dry, the remaining sludge will be transferred to a soil remediation site. After the sludge is removed, remediation of the dry pond beds and soil backfilling will commence.
Within two months of the initial drying period, there will be no evidence remaining of the notorious KAF landmark lakes, except for some ancillary buildings and equipment. The demobilization of the ancillary equipment will take about 4-5 months due to the fact all of the items will have to be cleaned and disinfected. By April 2013, the entire process should be complete with the pond area transformed in a dry, flat plot of land available for any number of future options ultimately determined by the commander of the airfield.
Also, the NATO spokesperson said a new waste yard in the Deep South sector of the airfield will open in early October. The new waste yard will feature incinerators, not burn pits, and will meet all standard European Union emission standards.