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Record of Decision System (RODS)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (EDGEWOOD AREA)

Abstract

Site Name:  ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (EDGEWOOD AREA)
Address:  OFF RTE 40 
City & State:  EDGEWOOD  MD  21010
County:  HARFORD
 
EPA ID:  MD2210020036
EPA Region:  03
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R03-95/216
ROD Date:  09/08/1995
Operable Unit(s):  01
 
Media:  Groundwater, Soil
 
Contaminant:  VOCs, SVOCs, cadmium, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, 1,2-tr
 
Abstract:  Please note that the text in this document summarizes the Record of Decision for the purposes of facilitating searching and retrieving key text on the ROD. It is not the officially approved abstract drafted by the EPA Regional offices. Once EPA Headquarters receives the official abstract, this text will be replaced.

Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) is located along the Chesapeake Bay in Harford County, Maryland, approximately 15 miles northeast of Baltimore. APG is divided into two main areas separated by the Bush River. The area north of the Bush River is referred to as the Aberdeen Area, and the area south of the Bush River is referred to as the Edgewood Area-Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG-EA). The Edgewood Area was established in 1917 as the primary chemical warfare research and development center for the Army with activities including laboratory research, field testing of chemical munitions, pilot scale manufacturing, and filling operations for chemical munitions. APG-EA has also been the location of production-scale chemical agent manufacturing. Until the early 1970s, the primary methods of waste disposal at APG-EA were through burial, open detonation open-air burning, or by discharging untreated liquid wastes through sewer lines to surface water. Over the years, these operations resulted in contamination of the environment with hazardous materials, including groundwater contamination.

The Building 103 dump is located in APG-EA at the intersection of Williams Road and Hoadley Road in the old chemical plants area of APG-EA. The site is referre to as the Building 103 dump because old Building 103 was located immediately north of the dump. A geophysical survey performed in 1994 determined the size o the dump to be approximately 350 feet from north to south, and 260 feet from eas to west.

Presently, the existing dump cover is badly scarred with large animal burrows which permit direct infiltration of water. There is extensive erosion of the cover soil into the fill material. Also, settling of the existing cover has resulted in surface depressions.

The Building 103 dump is a waste dumping and burial site. It was originally a sand pit from the time during World War I (WWI) when the chemical and munition filling plants were constructed. After WWI the sand pit became a dump site for junk, construction debris, waste chemicals, and possible ordnance items. Dumpin started in the years immediately following WWI and continued until the late 1930 or early 1940s. The dump was probably filled in and covered following a general surface cleanup in April 1937. While later aerial photographs (as late as 1964) continue to show ground scarring in the area of the dump, this was probably the result of activity in the area other than burial. Historical records indicate after dumping ceased, the area was sometimes used to remove insulation from copper wire by open burning.

There are essentially no records as to what was placed into the dump; however, some indication of the contents can be inferred from wastes typical of the processes used in the manufacture of chemical agents, incendiary and screening smokes, impregnite, and other materials.
Thus, the contents of the dump are believed to be chemical agent residues contained in process vessels, possible chemical ordnance and/or conventional ordnance items, chemical residues, junk an construction debris. Ordnance items are routinely uncovered during excavation activities in the Canal Creek Area. During a recent voluntary removal action at the Building 103 dump, approximately 50 gallons of organic sludge containing bromobenzylcyanide (BBC) residue as the major constituent was removed from a process vessel. This vessel had been exposed because of erosion and settling of the dump cover soil. A fence was constructed around the dump in 1992.

Testing at the Building 103 dump of soil and groundwater revealed the following contaminants: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), cadmium, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, 1,2-transdichloroethyle manganese.
 
Remedy:  This interim remedial action involves capping the Building 103 dump to prevent the infiltration of water into the dump with subsequent migration of contaminant to groundwater and to prevent animal intrusion into the dump. The major components of this selected interim remedial action include constructing a multilayered cap-and-cover system over the Building 103 dump in accordance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements for hazardous waste landfill closure using a geosynthetic membrane and a sodium bentonite geocomposite mat. The design features of this cap and cover system will include an earthen material backfill cover over the existing cover, two feet of compacte semi-pervious earthen material over the backfill cover, a sodium bentonite mat over the earthen material, a geosynthetic membrane over the sodium bentonite mat a drainage layer over the geosynthetic membrane, a cobble/gravel animal protective barrier, and a final earthen vegetative cover. Surface water control will be constructed to accommodate seasonal participation. A gas collection/filtration system will be constructed to filter any emissions from th dump.
 
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