SENECA ARMY DEPOT
On this page:
On related pages:
The Seneca Army Depot Activity (SEDA) site is located in Romulus, New York. It covers 10,587 acres. The U.S. Army has operated the facility and stored and disposed of military explosives there between 1941 and 2000, when SEDA closed. Following recommendation by DoD, approval by the Base Closure Commission, the President and Congress, SEDA was approved for the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list in October 1995. Some parts of the base have been transferred to various entities, prison and correctional authorities, as well as the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA). Current reuse plans project that most of the site property will be transferred for wildlife conservation, recreation, industrial and warehousing land uses. The site is being addressed through a Federal Facility Agreement between the Army, EPA and the State of New York. The site’s long-term cleanup is ongoing and it is expected to be completed in 2018.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
Cleanup at the SEDA site has included:
Open Burning (OB) Grounds: Previous demilitarization of munitions had been conducted for 40 years by open burning of fuses, projectiles, explosives and propellants directly on the ground surface. These activities adversely affected soil at the OB Grounds and sediments in Reeder Creek. The remedy selected in the site’s June 1999 ROD includes clearance of unexploded ordnance in the area of the remedial action, excavation of lead-contaminated soil and sediments from Reeder Creek; solidification and stabilization of 3,800 cubic yards of contaminated soils; off-site disposal of soil, solidified soil and sediment; providing 9 inches of clean fill with revegetation over remaining soils; and groundwater monitoring to ensure groundwater is not affected in the future by remaining lead in the soil.
Screening excavation of unexploded ordnance continues together with stock piling and soil classification for disposal or backfill. Currently, 50,000 tons of soil have been excavated, with 45,000 tons treated by stabilization. Oversize materials are being segregated and removed. Long-term monitoring started in December 2007.
Fire Training Pad and Pit: Fire training practices may have adversely affected soil and groundwater in these areas. The remedy selected in the site’s September 2004 ROD includes excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated source soils and treatment of recovered groundwater, and groundwater monitoring. The remedial action finished in 2005.
Deactivation Furnaces: Incineration of obsolete and unserviceable small arms munitions, fuses, boosters and fire devices may have adversely affected soil and groundwater in these areas. The site’s 2006 ROD included excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils. The remedial action finished in August 2008.
The Old Construction Debris (CD) Landfill and the Garbage Disposal Areas: Results of site investigations indicate that previous activities may have adversely affected soil and groundwater. A removal action at the CD landfill removed buried materials in 2006. A no further action (NFA) ROD was signed in September 2009.
Munitions Washout Facility and Leach Field: Operations at this facility included dismantling and removing explosives from munitions by steam cleaning. Results of site investigations indicate that previous activities may have adversely affected soil and groundwater. The ROD was signed on September 2008. Cleanup took place from October 2008 to November 2008.
Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid (IRFNA) Disposal Site: Unserviceable IRFNA was mixed with water and deposited into limestone-lined trenches to facilitate the neutralization of the acid. Sampling field work took place in the spring of 2002. Results indicated no significant impact to soils and limited impact to groundwater. A ROD proposing institutional controls was signed in July 2007.
The Radioactive Waste Burial Sites, the Pitchblende Storage Igloos and the Miscellaneous Components Burial Site: Burial of laboratory wastes occurred between 1940 and 1980. These pits were excavated in 1987, with the waste shipped to an authorized off-site radioactive waste landfill. During the 1950s and 1960s, wastewater generated from washing radioactive contaminated clothing was stored in a 5,000-gallon tank. In 1987, SEDA attempted to remove the tank, but then backfilled it in place.During the 1950s and 1960s, "classified" metallic parts were buried at the Miscellaneous Components Burial Site. Since the documentation related to the disposal is considered classified by the Army, the exact nature of the buried material has not been disclosed.
Results of site investigations indicate that previous activities may have adversely affected soil and groundwater. SEDA conducted a removal action to remove buried components. A no further action ROD for the Miscellaneous Components Burial Site was signed in September 2006. Supplemental investigations have been performed due to sporadic hits of TCE in the groundwater around Building 813. A removal action of military components took place during the summer of 2009. The ROD for limited institutional controls around building 813 was signed in March 2015.
The Ammunition Breakdown Area and the Oil Discharge Area Adjacent to Building 609: Following investigations, SEDA proposed no action for these areas. All concerns have been addressed and a no action ROD was signed in November 2003.
The Sewage Sludge Piles, the Fill Area West of Building 135 and the Alleged Paint Disposal Area: Following a removal action, a ROD was signed in May 2009, and a cap was placed over the area.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site is being addressed through removal actions, investigations and remedial actions. SEDA’s LRA has determined that parts of the site property will be used for wildlife conservation and recreation as well as industrial uses and warehousing in the future.
Areas with ongoing activity include:
Ash Landfill: The removal and in-place thermal treatment of 35,000 tons of contaminated soil finished in June 1995. The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,2-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride. In December 1998, an interceptor trench was installed and groundwater monitoring wells were placed upgradient, downgradient and on the wall as part of a treatability study. As a result, the Army has proposed additional continuous reactive walls to remediate the VOCs in groundwater. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in January 2005. The reactive material of the treatment walls is mulch. Construction of the remedy finished in 2008 and long term monitoring is ongoing.
Open Detonation Area: SEDA submitted a limited remedial investigation in December 2001. However, unexploded ordinance material needs to be removed before a full assessment could be performed . We did not accept the Feasibility Study evaluation of alternatives and consider the site not fully characterized. Signing of the ROD is not expected sooner than 2018..
The Open Detonation Area and the Five Munitions Response Areas are the only active areas left to be addressed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal or remedial actions. These areas are all considered munitions response sites.