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Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola is an active U.S. Navy (Navy) installation in Pensacola, Florida. The installation provides facilities, service and support for the operation and maintenance of the Navy’s naval weapons and aircraft. In the past, operations at NAS Pensacola generated wastes that contaminated soil, sediments, ground and surface water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the installation on the National Priorities List (NPL) of contaminated sites in 1989.

The Navy, working with EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), is addressing the contamination. They have concurred and issued cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or RODs) for nearly all portions of NAS Pensacola. The installation's contamination does not threaten people living and working near the site. By enforcing land use controls, undertaking Five-Year Reviews and working to complete the steps necessary to clean up remaining parts of the installation, the Navy, EPA and FDEP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

NAS Pensacola occupies 5,900 acres on a peninsula in southern Escambia County, a few miles southwest of Pensacola in western Florida. Bayou Grande borders the peninsula to the north and Pensacola Bay borders the site to the south. Currently, land uses at NAS Pensacola include military housing, training and support facilities as well as a large industrial complex for the repair and refurbishment of aircraft engines and frames. The western end of the installation includes an airfield (Forrest Sherman Field) and undeveloped forest land. Forested land surrounds most parts of the installation.

The Navy first began operations in the Pensacola area in 1825, when the federal government built a naval yard on Pensacola Bay. In 1914, the naval yard became home to the Navy’s first permanent air station. Since that time, NAS Pensacola has served as the primary training base for naval aviators. Base operations and maintenance activities have generated a variety of waste materials, including waste oils and solvents, paints, electroplating wastes, radium paint waste and insecticides. The Navy leads the investigation and cleanup of the site, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP.

The Navy must fulfill the regulatory obligations associated with the installation’s NPL listing. The Navy must also satisfy the ongoing requirements of a state-issued Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit. This permit is for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous materials and waste and the investigation and cleanup of releases of hazardous waste and/or materials from solid waste management units, or SWMUs, at NAS Pensacola.

  • The installation’s fourth Five-Year Review, completed in 2018, evaluated cleanup actions for OU-1 (Site 1, Sanitary Landfill), OU-2 (North Chevalier Sites), OU-4 (Site 15, Area Pesticide Rinsate Disposal), OU-10 (Wastewater Treatment Plant), OU-11 (Site 38, Facility Hazardous Waste Storage), OU-13 (Site 24, Public Works Center, DDT Mixing Area), OU-18  (Site 43 - Demolition Debris Disposal Area) and OU-19 (Site 44, Building 3221 Underground Storage Tank Solvent UST Site).
  • The remedies implemented at OUs 1 and 10 are protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks have been controlled through source removal actions, where appropriate. Land use controls are in place until long-term groundwater monitoring actions demonstrate that cleanup goals have been met. OU 1 seeps from a landfill are being evaluated for ecological exposure. OU 10 will be assessed to determine appropriate RCRA-CERCLA integration. The remedies at these sites are expected to be protective over the long term.
  • At OU-4, 11, 13, and 18, the remedies have been implemented and are protective of human health and the environment. The OU-4, 11, and 13 remedies have been implemented and are currently being monitored. Since the land use controls are in place, the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. OU18 has receached clean-up goals and implemented land-use controls.
  • The OU-2 and 19 have remedies that are being implemented ath the time of the 5YR. They will be protective once all actions are taken..

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on sites and operable units, or OUs. The Navy and EPA have identified 47 sites and organized them into a smaller number of OUs. OU-1, for example, refers to an 85-acre inactive sanitary landfill. The Navy and EPA have issued 11 cleanup decisions (Records of Decision, or RODs). Many of these cleanup decisions do not require cleanup action.

  • In 2017, the Navy and EPA issued their most recent cleanup plan. The ROD was for soil and groundwater at OU-19, Site 44, the Former UST Site 3221 SW area. Cleanup activities will include removal of soil with contaminant of concern (COC) levels greater than FDEP industrial soil cleanup standards; disposing of removed soil at an off-site permitted landfill; monitored natural attenuation of groundwater to address chlorinated solvents; and land use controls to prohibit future residential land and groundwater use.
  • The Navy has conducted cleanup actions at the installation since 1998. Actions have included the removal of contaminated soils, installation of a groundwater interception system, and installation of groundwater wells monitoring the natural attenuation of groundwater contamination. The Navy continues to conduct site investigations.


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Enforcement Information

For many years, the EPA has been working with its federal and state partners to clean up the installation. In 1990, the EPA, the State of Florida and the Navy signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA). The FFA helps to make sure that the parties fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the installation and undertake and complete appropriate cleanup actions.

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