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Federal judge grants extension in Salina cleanup

SALINA, Kan. (AP) -- A federal judge has granted authorities in Salina and the federal government more time to agree on a financial settlement to cover the cost of cleaning up contaminated groundwater and soil at a former Air Force base in the city.

The city of Salina, Salina Airport Authority, Salina School District and Kansas State University at Salina filed a federal lawsuit in Kansas City, Kan., in 2010, seeking to recoup the cost of cleaning up the industrial solvent TCE, or trichloroethylene, left at the former Schilling Air Force base.

The government and local authorities are drafting a consent decree to resolve the case and agree on how much money Salina needs to clean up the pollution. No amounts have been disclosed.

The Salina groups reached a nonbinding proposed settlement with the federal government and Department of Defense in February. The court then gave the groups until Tuesday to finalize that settlement but both sides asked for an extension Monday.

Federal District Judge Carlos Murguia on Tuesday gave the groups until Feb. 15 to agree a final settlement.

Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport Authority, told The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/UZM4Cv ) on Tuesday that the two parties needed more time.

"Settlement discussions and work on the consent decree are continuing and the process continues to be productive," Rogers said.