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Armando Quintanilla

San Antonio | Aircraft Mechanic

Mr. Quintanilla was an aircraft mechanic who worked at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio from 1945 through his retirement in 1992. In 1983, he and other workers and neighbors learned that benzene, chlorobenzene, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene and other toxic wastes had been dumped into uncovered pits from 1960 through 1973. As well, it became apparent that chromium plating sludge and wastes had been put in unlined evaporation pits at the Base from 1940 to 1955. Together, these wastes have drained into a shallow aquifer under the Base, and migrated into a plume that extends under 12 square miles of southwest San Antonio, affecting some 20,000 homes. Residents in North Kelly Gardens and other, largely Hispanic neighborhoods near the Base have reported various health problems that may be related to these chemicals, and are also concerned that the waste has hurt the financial values of their homes. Mr. Quintanilla worked to ensure that the waste sites and plumes were cleaned and that the neighbors’ health and financial were are addressed.

Interview Information

April 16, 2002
San Antonio, Texas
Reel 2193

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