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Record of Decision System (RODS)

ALLEGANY BALLISTICS LABORATORY (USNAVY)

Abstract

Site Name:  ALLEGANY BALLISTICS LABORATORY (USNAVY)
Address:  COUNTY RTE 9 
City & State:  MINERAL COUNTY  WV  26753
County:  MINERAL
 
EPA ID:  WV0170023691
EPA Region:  03
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/541/R-97/174
ROD Date:  05/29/1997
Operable Unit(s):  03
 
Media:  Groundwater,surface water,sediments,soils,subsurface soils
 
Contaminant:  Acids, bases, solvents, DNAPLs
 
Abstract:  Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) is located at Rocket Center, in the north central panhandle of West Virginia, about 10 miles south of Cumberland, Maryland. ABL consists of two plants and several additional sites. Plant 1 occupies approximately 1,572 acres and is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Alliant Techsystems. Plant 2, a 56-acre area adjacent to Plant 1, is owned exclusively by Alliant Techsystems, and is not listed on the NPL. Plant 2 is located along the river on a floodplain separate from Plant 1.Plant operations at ABL included research, development, and the production of solid propellant rocket motors. The formulation of the rocket fuels included the use of oxidizing and explosive materials. Processing the propellant and hardware equipment required the use of organic solvents.Since 1959, Site 1 has been utilized for various types of waste burning and disposal activities. Site 1 contains inert (non-ordnance) open and ordnance burn areas, two landfills, a former drum storage area, and three solvent disposal pits. Within the fenced portion of Site 1, known as the ordnance burning ground, eight earthen pads were formerly used to burn ordnance material generated a the facility. Selected pads are currently used for burning, however all burning is now done on steel pans. Near the southwest corner of the ordnance burning ground, three unlined pits historically were used to dispose of used solvents, acids, and bases generated by plant operations. Near the eastern end of Site 1, inert wastes (i.e., rags, paper, etc.), possibly contaminated as a result of plant operations, historically were burned and the ash buried. Burning and disposal activities at this area have ceased.Waste not classified as ordnance or explosive contaminated, such as sanitary waste, was burned in the open burn area, located near the western end of Site 1. The ash from the open burning activities was landfilled, together with building material and other nonflammable debris, in the open burn area landfill along the bank of the North Branch Potomac River.Prior to 1981, the former drum storage area was used to store 55-gallon drums containing used solvents generated during plant operations.In August 1981, reports of deteriorated drums releasing their contents to the surrounding ground surface resulted in a clean-up effort in which the spilled material from the drums was removed from the ground surface and contained in new drums. The drums were then disposed of in accordance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations.
 
Remedy:  The Navy will manage the cleanup at Site 1 in two phases or Operable Units (OUs). The remedial action selected in this Record of Decision (ROD) addresses contamination associated with groundwater, surface water and sediments in the North Branch Potomac River near Site 1 and is to be implemented as OU 3. OU 4, defined as the contaminated surface and subsurface soils at Site 1, will undergo further evaluation and separate remediation alternatives will be studied.The selected remedy for OU 3 is a site-wide groundwater extraction, with Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs) targeting and air stripping.The major components of the selected remedy are: construction of a groundwater treatment plant on site; extraction of groundwater across Site 1; treatment of extracted groundwater by the groundwater treatment plant and discharge into the North Branch Potomac River, with a portion of the treated groundwater utilized by the facility on an as needed basis for steam generation, with the extraction well network being periodically evaluated and modified as necessary in order to enhance recovery of contaminants and better control the dissolution of DNAPLs into groundwater; establishment of an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) program for the groundwater treatment plant and extraction system; deed notations and property use and access restrictions to prevent future groundwater use; and a sediment, surface water, and aquifer monitoring plan to monitor contaminant concentrations in the river across Site 1. Human health risk from ingestion of fish will be reconsidered during this monitoring. In concurrence with State and EPA regulations, wells that no longer produce groundwater at safe contaminant concentrations will no longer be used because of risks posed to human and ecological receptors in the river. This process would continue until a smaller zone of groundwater contamination is defined in the aquifer, likely corresponding to DNAPLs.Implementation of the selected remedy will address the principal threats at the site by reducing the potential risk to human health and the environment associated with the discharge of groundwater to the North Branch Potomac River.
 
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