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Record of Decision System (RODS)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (MICHAELSVILLE LANDFILL)

Abstract

Site Name:  ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (MICHAELSVILLE LANDFILL)
Address:  OFF RTE 40 
City & State:  ABERDEEN  MD  21005
County:  HARFORD
 
EPA ID:  MD3210021355
EPA Region:  03
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R03-91/126
ROD Date:  09/27/1991
Operable Unit(s):  04
 
Contaminant:  NONE
 
Abstract:  THE 79,000-ACRE USA ABERDEEN SITE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE US ARMY ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (APG), IS AN ACTIVE MILITARY INSTALLATION USED SINCE 1917 FOR PLANNING AND TESTING WEAPONS, MUNITIONS, VEHICLES, AND EQUIPMENT IN HARFORD COUNTY, MARYLAND, NEAR THE HEAD OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. APG IS DIVIDED INTO TWO FUNCTIONAL AREAS: THE 13,000-ACRE EDGEWOOD AREA AND THE 17,000-ACRE ABERDEEN AREA, WHICH INCLUDES TWO LANDFILLS. THESE TWO AREAS ARE DIVIDED AND DRAINED BY BUSH RIVER, AS WELL AS BY NUMEROUS CREEKS. FROM 1922 TO 1925, AN UNKNOWN AMOUNT OF WORLD WAR I WHITE PHOSPHORUS MUNITIONS (ORDNANCE) WAS SUPPOSEDLY BURIED OFFSHORE OF THE ABERDEEN AREA ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY. THIS 15-ACRE AREA, TERMED THE WHITE PHOSPHORUS UNDERWATER MUNITIONS BURIAL AREA (WPUMBA), IS THE FOCUS OF THIS ROD. THE ORDNANCE REPORTEDLY BURIED AT THE WPUMBA CONSISTED OF LAND MINES, GRENADES, AND ARTILLERY SHELLS; IN ADDITION, BULK PHOSPHORUS MAY HAVE BEEN BURIED. IN 1933, THE WPUMBA WAS REPORTEDLY UNCOVERED BY A HURRICANE, RESULTING IN A LARGE WATERFOWL KILL. HOWEVER, NO EVIDENCE OF A DISPOSAL SITE AT THE WPUMBA WAS OBSERVED IN HISTORICAL OR AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS, AND ONLY ONE REFERENCE TO THE DISPOSAL AREA HAS BEEN FOUND. IN ADDITION TO BACKGROUND SEARCHES, EPA CONDUCTED EXTENSIVE ELECTROMAGNETIC AND CORE SAMPLING STUDIES OF THE WPUMBA FROM 1988 TO 1989. SAMPLE RESULTS REVEALED ONLY TRACE AMOUNTS OF WHITE PHOSPHORUS AND ONLY SPORADIC MAGNETIC OBJECTS IN SEDIMENT, AND NO PHOSPHORUS IN SURFACE WATER. HENCE, NO EFFECTIVE REMEDIAL ACTION IS POSSIBLE AT THE SITE. FUTURE RODS MAY BE WARRANTED IF CONTAMINATION IS FOUND. THEREFORE, THERE ARE NO PRIMARY CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN AFFECTING THE SITE.

THE SELECTED REMEDIAL ACTION FOR THIS SITE IS NO ACTION WITH SURFACE WATER MONITORING AFTER SEVERE STORMS WITH HURRICANE STRENGTH WINDS OR ANY OTHER ACT WHICH MAY DISTURB SEDIMENT. WATER SAMPLES WILL BE ANALYZED FOR PHOSPHORUS, USING A DETECTION LIMIT OF 0.01 UG/L, WHICH IS 10 PERCENT OF THE ESTABLISHED TOXICITY CONCENTRATIONS APPROVED BY EPA, AND FOR METALS USING EPA DETECTION LIMITS. THERE ARE NO PRESENT WORTH OR O&M COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS NO ACTION REMEDY.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OR GOALS; NOT APPLICABLE.
 
Remedy:  THE NO ACTION DECISION IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE SUPPOSED WHITE PHOSPHORUS CONTAMINATION AT THE WPUMBA WAS NEVER FOUND USING CURRENT AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY, AND THAT NO EFFECTIVE REMEDIAL ACTION IS POSSIBLE AT THE SITE. THE NO ACTION REMEDY CALLS FOR SAMPLING OF THE WATER COLUMN IN THE WPUMBA VICINITY PRIOR TO AND DURING ANY DREDGING ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA, AND FOLLOWING MAJOR STORM EVENTS (HURRICANE FORCE WINDS), TO MONITOR AND MINIMIZE RELEASES OF SEDIMENT-BOUND MATERIALS TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

CURRENTLY, THE WPUMBA PRESENTS A MINIMAL RISK TO THE HUMAN POPULATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT. HOWEVER, THE MONITORING REQUIREMENT OF THE NO ACTION REMEDY DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY PROTECTION AGAINST RELEASE OF OR EXPOSURE TO WHITE PHOSPHORUS FROM WPUMBA IN THE FUTURE. THEREFORE, THE NO ACTION DECISION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FINDING THAT THE REMEDY ENSURES ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF HUMAN HEALTH OR THE ENVIRONMENT. BECAUSE THE NO ACTION REMEDY COULD RESULT IN POSSIBLE UNDETECTED HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES REMAINING IN THE SEDIMENT AND BEING RELEASED TO THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE FUTURE, A REVIEW WILL BE CONDUCTED FIVE YEARS AFTER THE FINALIZATION OF THIS DECISION. THIS REVIEW WILL IDENTIFY POSSIBLE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES THAT MIGHT BE DEVELOPED WHICH HAVE A GREATER DETECTION/LOCATION CAPABILITY FOR WHITE PHOSPHORUS THAN CURRENTLY EXISTS TODAY TO WARRANT A RE-INVESTIGATION OF THE SUPPOSED UNDERWATER BURIAL AREA.
 
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