Today, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper, and Vice Minister of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien announced a new contract of up to $73 million to treat and clean soil at Bien Hoa Air Base. This program is a reflection of the United States’ enduring commitment to Vietnam as the countries mark 10 years of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership. Standing on a recently remediated parcel of land at Bien Hoa Air Base, the representatives marked recent progress and announced the next stage of bilateral efforts to remediate dioxin contamination.
Under the new contract, Nelson Environmental Remediation USA, an American small business, will design and build a treatment facility to decontaminate soil and sediment on and around the Bien Hoa Air base. The first phase will treat more than 100,000 cubic meters of the total approximate 500,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment. The Bien Hoa clean-up project was launched in April 2019 and is expected to take 10 years to complete and cost up to $450 million. The U.S. government’s contribution to-date to the Bien Hoa clean-up is $163.25 million, out of a total expected contribution of $300 million. The Bien Hoa clean-up is nearly four times the volume of a previous Danang Airport clean-up project, which USAID and MND completed in 2018.
USAID and MND officials also inaugurated a park at the site of today’s ceremony, installed by USAID and Vietnam’s Air Defense Air Force Command (ADAFC) with support from the U.S. Department of Defense, to commemorate this key milestone in U.S.-Vietnam cooperation. In a signing ceremony, USAID officially handed over this park land to the Government of Vietnam, which marks the first decontaminated parcel of Bien Hoa Air Base to be returned to MND. Previously, USAID and MND completed the remediation of the first parcel of land, located off-base near Gate 2.
“Our example of reconciliation will forever serve as a profound lesson to the rest of the world of what can be achieved when we move forward as trusted friends instead of foes. Let us redouble our efforts in ensuring that our bilateral partnership grows stronger and more resilient for the next 27 years and beyond,” said Ambassador Knapper.
Also in attendance at today’s ceremony were U.S. Consul General Susan Burns, USAID Mission Director Aler Grubbs, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Craig Hart, and Vice Chairman of Dong Nai People’s Committee Cao Tien Dung.
In December 2022, USAID began a $29 million program with a Vietnamese firm to complete critical preparatory work at Bien Hoa Air Base. This contract, with VINA E&C, is the largest ever from USAID’s Mission in Vietnam to a local organization. USAID is committed to building Vietnamese expertise in this nascent area of environmental health and safety.