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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/R03-96/215
ROD Date:  04/01/1996
Operable Unit(s):  03
 
Media:  Soil
 
Contaminant:  Lead, zinc, iron, hexachlorobenzene, hexachloroethane
 
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 and Baltimore County, Maryland, about 15 miles north of Baltimore. APG is divided into two main areas by the Bush River. The area north of the Bush River is referred to as the Aberdeen Area of APG, and the area south of the Bush River is referred to as the Edgewood Area (APG-EA) of APG.

The Aberdeen Area was established in 1917 as an ordnance proving ground and was used historically as a testing area for tanks, ordnance items, and other military equipment. 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. During World War I and World War II, the APG-EA was also the location of production-scale chemical agent manufacturing.

Building 503 is located near the former location of old Filling Plant #2 (now demolished), which is located at the intersection of Hadley Road and Noble Road in the Canal Creek Area of APG-EA. It was constructed in 1918 and was intended to house a filling plant for large-caliber shells. Construction was not completed prior to the end of World War I, however, and there is no indication that the plant was ever completed or used for the filling of munitions with chemical agents. Despite this, Building 503 was commonly referred to in World War I literature as the large-caliber filling plant. Small surrounding buildings also were used for operations related to filling. During at least a portion of the period between World War I and World War II, including the early and mid-1930s, Building 503 was used as a garage, gasoline filling station, and carpenter shop.

The Building 503 Burn Site soils operable unit consists of two ash-covered barren areas located east of Building 503, which were used for the open-air testing of experimental smoke mixtures and smoke munitions, and for disposing of experimental smoke mixtures and munitions by open burning. The north burn area was used as early as 1943, and the south site was in use starting about 1951. Use of these sites for testing and disposing of smoke mixtures and munitions ceased in 1975. The north burn site is the larger of the two.

Building 503 is still used as a Research and Development (R&D) facility for pyrotechnic smoke mixtures and smoke dissemination hardware. These R&D operations in recent years have created little waste. During mixing and loading operations in bays along the east side of the building, water is used to keep dust and small spillage of mixture ingredients from accumulating and presenting a safety hazard. This waste water flows into a concrete french drain. Solids that remain in the french drain, and remain after evaporation of the water, are periodically removed and drummed for disposal as hazardous waste. Ventilation system dust collection units also discharge water to the french drain and collect solids for disposal. Spilled mixture ingredients and material from problem batches are drummed for later disposal.

Soil contamination is the result of the testing and disposal of pyrotechnic mixtures and munitions.
 
Remedy:  The interim remedial alternative is excavation of the contaminated soil and ash in the Building 503 burn sites followed by disposal of the soil and ash at the Building 103 dump. The soil and ash from the Building 503 burn sites will form part of the required subbase under the capping and covering system for the Building 103 dump.
 
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