NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD
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The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) site is located in Portsmouth in the tidewater region of southeastern Virginia, along the southern branch of the Elizabeth River and Paradise Creek near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Dating to 1767, the facility is the oldest shipyard in the United States devoted exclusively to ship repair and overhaul. Activities at the shipyard include metal forming, repair and installation of mechanical and electrical equipment, metal fabrication, metal plating, and painting operations. Historical operations and disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Cleanups are complete at some sites within the NNSY. Operation and maintenance activities at these sites are ongoing. Investigations and remedy selection activities are ongoing at the remaining sites.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal actions. The following describes the construction activities at NNSY:
OU-1, Site 2, Scott Center Landfill: EPA signed a “no further” action Record of Decision (ROD) in October 2005. No further action was necessary because a June 2005 removal action removed the landfill contents as well as adjacent contaminated marsh sediments. As part of the removal action, the Navy also created an engineered tidal wetland.
OU-3 - Site 9, Calcium Hydroxide Disposal Area: In May 2004, the Navy finalized a decision document that closed out the site with no further action. No further action was necessary because a 2003 removal action removed 44,000 tons of material (including 16,000 tons of fly ash used to stabilize the waste calcium hydroxide). As part of the removal action, the Navy also created 1.3 acres of engineered wetlands.
OU-4, Site 17, Metal Plating Shop: The long-term remedy, selected in 2006, included land use controls (LUCs) to prohibit residential development. LUCs have been implemented. Remedial action finished in November 2011.
OU-5, Site 1, New Gosport Landfill Area: In July 2004, the Navy finalized a site screening document that closed out the site with no further action. No further action was necessary because a 2001 removal action removed 55,000 tons of abrasive blast material residues. As part of the removal action, the Navy also created 1.9 acres of new tidal wetlands to help reduce urban sediment contamination in Paradise Creek and increase wetlands buffers in the Elizabeth River watershed.
OU-6, Site 10, 1927 Landfill: The long-term remedy selected in October 2008 included LUCs. LUCs have been implemented. Remedial action finished in November 2011.
The Navy, with EPA concurrence, has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The second Five-Year Review (PDF), August 2016, concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site consists of multiple areas known as operable units (OUs). Investigations are ongoing at several OUs and additional areas of concern.
OU-2, Sites 3 through 7, Paradise Creek Landfill: The long-term remedy included a soil cap and marsh excavation and restoration. Construction finished in 2010. Groundwater under OU-2 is being addressed as OU-7.
OU-7, Groundwater: This site addresses groundwater contamination under OU-2. The Navy is currently preparing a feasibility study to evaluate remedial options for the site. Selection of a remedy is planned for late 2015.
Site 15 - Past Pier Side Industrial Operations: Site 15 was established as an additional site screening area in the 2004 Federal Facilities Agreement. The Navy finalized a “no action” decision document for the site in 2006. However, sediment samples recently collected in the area indicated there may be a risk to ecological receptors. Both the Southgate Annex and the Main Shipyard were maintenance dredged in late 2010. EPA requested that the Navy collect sediment samples in both areas and complete a screening-level ecological risk analysis. Discussions are ongoing.
Paradise Creek: Several OUs have contributed to contamination in Paradise Creek. A 2001 ecological risk assessment concluded that sediments in the creek posed a risk to ecological receptors. Since completion of that report, the Navy has completed several landfill removals near Paradise Creek to reduce or eliminate continuing contaminant sources to the creek. EPA has requested that the Navy collect additional sediment samples to determine if risk remains. Discussions are ongoing.