Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Naval Weapons Station – Yorktown, which is a large, complex military National Priorities List site, is located on the Virginia Peninsula in York and James City counties and Newport News, Virginia. The 10,624-acre facility was established in 1918, with the primary mission of providing ordnance, technical support and related ordnance services to sustain the war-fighting capabilities of the armed services in support of national military strategies. Historical operations and disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water with hazardous chemicals. Cleanups are complete at some sites at the facility. Operation and maintenance activities at these sites are ongoing. Investigations and remedy selection activities are ongoing at the remaining sites. The Department of Defense is the main Potentially Responsible Party for the site.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal actions.

Long-term remedies at the sites included installation or restoration of soil caps (at landfills), surface debris removal, soil or sediment removal, and land use controls.

In 2011, the Navy completed a facility-wide, naturally occurring constituent background concentration study for soils. Investigations at the remaining sites, site screening areas (SSAs) and areas of concern (AOCs) are ongoing. A groundwater investigation is also ongoing.

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 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.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The Naval Weapons Station Yorktown (NWS-Yorktown) has limited site-wide human exposure because the entry into the base is restricted and can only be accessed with a base escort so human exposure to any contamination at sites is unforeseen.  Additionally, there are no drinking water wells or irrigation wells at or downgradient of the facility and land use controls prevent groundwater from being utilized for drinking water on the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Site. There are 31 operable units on this site with 17 operable units undergoing a remedial investigation, one operable unit in the remedial design stage, two operable units in the operation and maintenance stage, and 11 operable units with no further action needed.

A 1994 Federal Facilities Agreement between EPA, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Navy originally established 16 sites, 19 site screening areas (SSAs) and 21 areas of concern (AOCs) that required some form of investigation at the facility. EPA signed Records of Decision for the following sites:

1. Dudley Road Landfill - soils
2. Group 16 Magazine Landfill - soils
3. Burning Pad Residue Landfill - soils
4. Surplus Transformer Storage Area
5. Explosives-Contaminated Wastewater Impoundment - soils
6. Plant 3 Explosives-Contaminated Wastewater Discharge Area - soils
7. Plant 1 Explosives-Contaminated Wastewater Discharge Area - soils
8. Conveyor Belt Soils at Building 10 - soils
9. Abandoned Explosives Burning Pits
10. Holm Road Landfill
11. Barracks Road Landfill - soils
12. West Road Landfill - soils
13. Building 476 Discharge Area
14. Battery and Drum Disposal Area - soils
15. Burn Pad - All media
16. Building 1751 Chemistry Laboratory Neutralization Unit and Drainage Area

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