Work on a utility trench in a base maintenance hangar will continue after base environmental engineers determine workers have not been exposed to dangerous levels of chromium, the base announced.

Chromium, a potentially hazardous chemical that can cause skin and lung irritation, was detected in the soil under the concrete floor of Building 225 on March 2 while construction crews performed maintenance work on C-130 cargo planes.The trench was being dug in the hangar floor to install utility lines to accommodate work on the C-130.

Workers will sample soil exposed and wet the dirt to prevent dust contamination as precautions during the remainder of construction, according to Col. Phil Brown, base bioenvironmental engineer.

"As portions of concrete are removed, the underlying soil will be tested before excavation can begin. Any contamination will be identified and appropriate actions will be taken," Brown said.

According to Brown, urine samples taken from 10 workers in the building showed average chromium levels in their bodies, less than the amount that would be expected from persons working with chromium.