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Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, was established in 1917 as Chanute Field, making it one of the oldest Air Force facilities prior to its closure in 1993. Chanute began as a pilot training school during World War I, and after a brief closure following the end of the war, reopened as a technical training center. Fire protection training was relocated to Chanute in 1964 and continued until base closure. Chanute AFB was recommended for closure by the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 1988. The base was officially closed Sept. 30, 1993.
AFCEC continues to work closely with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ensure environmental cleanup activities satisfy all regulatory standards and protect human health and the environment. The Air Force has invested more than $200 million on cleanup actions at the former installation as of 2022 and the cost to complete cleanup is another $60.5 million. Site closeout has been achieved at all but 15 sites. The remaining sites include closed landfills, a former trap range, a former solvent spill site, and several sites being investigated for 1,4-dioxane and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). A multi-year contract for the Remedial Investigation of 1,4-dioxane and PFAS was awarded in June 2023.
Airmen at Chanute used hazardous materials such as aviation and motor fuels, petroleum products such as motor oil, lubricants and hydraulic fluids, and cleaning solvents when the base was open. Hazardous wastes generated at Chanute AFB included waste oils and fuels, oil/water separator sludge, solvent residues and other chemical wastes. When the base closed, the Air Force collected hazardous wastes from all storage and designated accumulation points and disposed of them off-site at a permitted facility. Primary sources of hazardous substances involved either oil-water separators, underground storage tanks, sludge pits (or a combination of these items) and landfills.
AFCEC is required to investigate and clean up past releases of contamination that may pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. AFCEC implements these requirements under their Installation Restoration Program as well as state regulatory programs such as the Illinois Underground Storage Tank and Leaking UST programs.
In December 2000, a portion of Chanute was proposed by the EPA for the National Priorities List. In April 2021, the EPA withdrew the proposal based on the substantive progress the Air Force has made on site investigations and cleanup. EPA Letter and Federal Register documents for de-proposal.
Today, the Village of Rantoul has attracted tenants in the fields of transportation, manufacturing, and education, including Lincoln’s ChalleNGe, an intensive, highly structured, alternative educational environment run by the Illinois National Guard and designed to give at-risk youth a new start at becoming contributing members of their community. The former base is also home to the University of Illinois Advanced Transportation and Research Engineering Laboratory, or ATREL, one of the leading transportation research facilities in the nation.
Chanute achieved whole base transfer September 2023.
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Village of Rantoul
601 S. Century Blvd., Ste. 1402
Rantoul, IL 61866
Phone: (217) 893-1661