Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The 27,827-acre Fort Ord site is located in Monterey County, California. It was established in 1917 by the U.S. Army as a maneuver area and field artillery target range. In 1991, Fort Ord was selected for decommissioning but the post did not formally close until 1994. Prior to closing in September 1994, the base's primary mission was training infantry military personnel.

EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990. The site contained leaking petroleum underground storage tanks, a 150-acre landfill used to dispose of residential waste and small amounts of commercial waste generated by the base, a former fire drill area, motor pool maintenance areas, small dumpsites, small arms target ranges, an 8,000-acre firing range and other limited areas that pose threats from unexploded ordnance.

Following initial actions to protect human health and the environment, site investigations and long-term cleanup activities are ongoing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The majority of the site is being addressed by the U.S. Army, with EPA oversight. A Federal Facility Agreement was signed by the Army, EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board Central Coast Region in 1990.

In addition, the Fort Ord Reuse Authority is responsible for the Privatized Cleanup portion of Fort Ord with Army and EPA oversight. The Fort Ord Reuse Authority voluntarily entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control for the cleanup of these parcels in May 2007. The Administrative Order on Consent requires the Authority to clean up the parcels to an extent that would protect human health and environment.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The cleanup and investigation of Fort Ord is separated into three programs: the Army's Soil and Groundwater Contamination Cleanup Program, the Army's Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Program, and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority's Privatized Cleanup Program. Following initial actions to protect human health and the environment, site studies, cleanup and monitoring are ongoing. More than 20 remedies have been selected in Records of Decision (RODs) and Explanations of Significant Differences (ESDs).

Cleanup Progress

The continuing operation of the groundwater treatment systems at the former fire practice area, the landfill and the Site 2/12 Area; the capping of the landfill and removal and treatment of landfill gas; successful completion of a pilot soil vapor extraction system for volatile organic compounds in the vadose zone above the carbon tetrachloride plume; and the removal of soil and debris have reduced the potential of exposure to contaminants. MEC removal actions, fencing, warning signs and patrols have further reduced exposure to MEC. Contaminated groundwater is not being used for drinking water.

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Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.

For more background, see Institutional Controls.

Munitions and Explosives of Concern, Soil: Lead, Groundwater: 1,1-Dichloroethane,1,2- Dichloroethane, 1,1-Dichloroethene, 1,2- Dichloroethene, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Benzene, Chloroform, Methyl ethyl ketone, Tetrachloroethene, Trichloroethylene, Dichloropropane, Dichloromethane, Vinyl chloride, Carbontetrachloride Trichloroethylene (TCE):

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