NORFOLK NAVAL BASE (SEWELLS POINT NAVAL COMPLEX)
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The Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point Naval Complex) site is located directly northwest of Norfolk, Virginia. The 4,630-acre facility provides shore facilities and logistics support for Navy vessels and aircraft. Shipyard activities include metal forming, repair and installation of mechanical and electrical equipment, metal fabrication and plating. Industrial shops, industrial wastes, scrap metal, waste oils, hydraulic oils, cutting oils, and oils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cleaners, solvents, paint, paint sludges, thinners, blasting residues, asbestos and batteries. Wastes generated at the facility include halogenated and non-halogenated solvents, corrosives, paint wastes, wastes from electroplating operations, petroleum products, and oils and lubricants. In addition, the facility manages used oils, construction debris, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), contaminated oils and trash. Historical operations and disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Following cleanup, operation and maintenance activities are ongoing. This site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites requiring long-term remedial action on June 17, 1996. The site was formally added to the list on April 1, 1997, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal actions.
Site 1 Camp Allen Landfill: The long-term remedy included extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater. Cleanup also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. In 1994, the Navy excavated buried drums containing waste solvents and disposed of them at a permitted hazardous waste landfill. In the summer of 1998, a groundwater extraction and treatment system and soil vapor extraction system began operating. In 2008, based on the evaluation of long term monitoring data, the soil vapor extraction system was turned off because there were no signs of contaminant migration in groundwater downgradient of the waste material. The long-term monitoring program is conducted to ensure that the shutoff of the extraction system does not affect the downgradient groundwater.
A vapor intrusion investigation was completed in 2017, due to the proximity of the VOC plume to the Camp Allen Elementary School. The report concluded the vapor intrusion pathway is not currently complete at the existing elementary school.
Institutional controls are in place, which include the prohibition of groundwater for any purpose other than environmental monitoring, as well as digging prohibitions.
Site 2 NM Area Slag Pile: The long-term remedy included installation of a soil cover and land use controls (LUCs). The remedial action finished in June 2007.
Site 3 Q Area Drum Storage Yard: The long-term remedy included installation of an air sparging/soil vapor extraction system and LUCs. Construction for the system finished in the fall of 1998.
Site 6 CD Landfill: The long-term remedy included a soil cap, LUCs and removal of contaminated sediment near the landfill. Cap installation finished in December 1999.
Site 20 Building LP-20: The long-term remedy included air sparging/soil vapor extraction and LUCs. Construction for the remedy finished in the fall of 1998. Based on the limited continued effectiveness in reducing contaminant concentrations, the AS/SVE was turned off in 2013 while the continued and long term effectiveness is evaluated. Alternative remediation strategy are currently being evaluated.
A vapor intrusion investigation was evaluated at the site. The results of the investigation and subsequent risk assessment concluded that the indoor air risks to current industrial workers in Building LP-20 were below the EPA target levels. However, to ensure there is no potential future risk, additional vapor intrusion investigations is scheduled for 2018.
Site 22 Camp Allen Salvage Yard: The long-term remedy included a cover system and LUCs. In 2002, a non-time-critical removal action also removed PCB-contaminated soils. In 2003, an additional removal action addressed sediment contamination in the drainage ditch/pond.
Site 23 Building LP-20 Plating Shop: The long-term remedy included a cover system and LUCs. In 2008, a removal action at LP-20 eliminated the possibility of direct contact with contaminated soil.
SWMU 14 Q-50 Satellite Accumulation Area: The long-term remedy included LUCs. In December 2008, as part of a removal action, a cover system was installed over SWMU 14. The cover system eliminates the possibility of direct contact with the waste material and will serve as a parking area.
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 most recent review, conducted in September 2014, 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 Navy has investigated and cleaned up multiple sites at the Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point Naval Complex).
In September 2010, the site reached the Superfund “construction complete” milestone. This means all necessary remedial actions have been completed and are operating as designed. Operation, maintenance and monitoring of in-place remedies and institutional controls are ongoing.
Currently, the Navy is completing a vapor intrusion investigation to ensure long term protectiveness as well as initiating a pilot study using a subgrade biogeochemical reactor as a potential alternative remediation strategy at Site 20. In addition, the Navy is working to optimize the remedial action at Site 1.
The last Five-Year Review was completed September 2014 and the next Five-Year Review is scheduled for September 2019.