MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE #1
On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
On related pages:
McGuire Air Force Base (MAFB) is an active facility that occupies more than 3,500 acres in a rural part of Burlington County, New Jersey. The base is bordered to the north by the community of Wrightstown, and to the east, south and west by the U.S. Army’s Fort Dix military installation. Past activities at MAFB in support of operational missions created a number of waste sources of potential environmental concern. Site investigations and long-term cleanup are ongoing. In 2005, the Department of Defense (DoD) recommended that McGuire (Air Force), Fort Dix (Army) and Naval Air Engineering Center-Lakehurst (Navy) realign to become one joint base installation. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL) is uniquely capable of projecting air, land and sea power to support national defense.
MAFB originated in 1937 as an adjunct to the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Dix and functioned under the control of the U.S. Army until 1948. At that time, jurisdiction over the facility transferred to the U.S. Air Force. Past activities at MAFB in support of operational missions created a number of waste sources of potential environmental concern. In 1982, the U.S. Air Force completed Phase I of the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) investigation “to identify, confirm/quantify, and remediate problems caused by past management of hazardous wastes” at the base. After additional investigations, EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in October 1999.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The first step to addressing the cleanup of the base was to sign an Interagency Agreement (IAG). This agreement was signed by the Air Force and EPA in September 2009. The IAG is a document that establishes the framework for performing the necessary steps and provides the responsibilities of all parties involved in the cleanup activities. In accordance with the IAG, the AF submitted a Site Management Plan (SMP) in December 2009. The site has been grouped into nine operable units (OUs). The SMP summarizes the status of the OUs and outlines the upcoming schedules for cleanup. The SMP is updated annually every June and submitted to EPA for review. In addition, the Air Force is participating in the Installation Restoration Program which is a specially funded program established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to identify, investigate, and control the migration of hazardous contaminants at military and other DoD facilities.
The site has been grouped into nine operable units, or OUs.
Operable Unit 1 (OU-1)
LF 03: A 12.7-acre landfill operating from 1950 and possibly into the 1960s. It was used to dispose of miscellaneous industrial waste.
ST-07: A 3-acre former storage yard. The area was contaminated mainly with PCB waste. A removal action was used to address this AOC.
LF-04: A 2.5-acre landfill that operated for about two to three years beginning in 1956. General refuse and scrap material were buried in the landfill.
Current Status of OU-1: The Air Force has completed the remedial investigation and feasibility study, which evaluates possible remedial alternatives phases of the Superfund cleanup process. The propose plan for the remedy will go out for public comment in February 2020.
Operable Unit 2 (OU-2)
SS-18 (PCB Spill Site): Contaminated soil and materials were removed shortly after the spill in 1982.
LF-23 (Former Landfill Number 1): A 30-acre landfill used to dispose of waste generated on base.
SS-34 (Building 1707 and Building 1800 Series): Operations in these buildings include maintenance and testing of vehicles and equipment. The demolished base fire department contained an oil water separator.
SS-35 (Buildings 1908, 1925, 1929, 1931, 1932 and 1937): Operations at these buildings included maintenance activities and previously housed a generator.
SS-36 (Building 2300 Series and 3200 Series): These buildings are associated with structural repair and aircraft maintenance operations. In addition, there is a hazardous waste storage yard.
SS-37 (Building 2415): General vehicle maintenance takes place here.
SS-38 (Building 3001): This building is the base transportation motor pool.
SS-39 (Buildings 3321, 3322, 3325, 3350 and 3362): Operations in these buildings are associated with aircraft maintenance and support activities. Oil water separators are associated with some of these buildings.
SS-41 (Buildings 1940, 1942 and 1943): Golf course vehicle maintenance is performed in these buildings.
SS-42 (Central Heat Plant, Building 2101)
Current Status of OU-2: The Air Force has completed the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. The Air Force is addresing EPA and NJDEP comments on the draft feasibility study, which evaluates possible remedial alternatives.
Operable Unit 3 (OU-3)
LF-02: An 18-acre landfill operating from 1958 to the early 1970s. Various industrial wastes, coal ash and base refuse were buried in the landfill.
LF-19: A 5-acre landfill operating from 1970 to 1973. It is believed to have been used to dispose of construction debris and possibly chemical wastes. Wastes were routinely burned to reduce the volume.
LF-20: A 5.5-acre landfill operating from 1973 to 1976. Reportedly used for disposal of general refuse, concrete, metal, wood, glass and plastics. It is believed that wastes were also burned here before disposal.
WP-21: A dewatered sludge disposal site. Sludge generated from the wastewater treatment plant was stockpiled between 1970 and 1980. Piles were removed in 1984.
Current Status of OU-3: The Air Force has completed the remedial investigation, feasibility study, proposed plan and finalized the selected remedy in the Record of Decision (ROD).
Operable Unit 4 (OU-4)
ST-09 Bulk Fuel Storage Area: A 14-acre fuel storage facility in the central portion of the base. It has been operating since 1963. Fuels stored here include AVGAS (aviation gasoline), JP-4, JP-8 and heating oils. Significant releases have been documented dating back to 1967 and a free phase product has been identified in the groundwater.
Current Status of OU-4: The Air Force has completed the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. The Air Force is addressing EPA and NJDEP comments on the feasibility study, which evaluates possible remedial alternatives.
Operable Unit 5 (OU-5)
SS-25 – Bldgs 3205, 3207 and 3208 Entomology Shops: Three of a series of five buildings along Wrightstown-Cookstown Road that were once entomology shops. By 1974, the buildings were all demolished. Soils were investigated as early as 1996 and were believed to contain pesticide and metal contaminants.
SS-26- Is the location of the former Golf Course Pesticide Mixing Shop.
Current Status of OU-5: The Air Force has completed the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. The Air Force is addressing EPA and NJDEP comments on the feasibility study.
Operable Unit 6 (OU-6)
SS-22: In 1988, an aircraft apron JP-4 fuel line ruptured beneath the reinforced concrete flight line ramp and fuel was released onto the ground surface.
SS-30: consists of three jet-fuel hot-spots identified during previous investigations, located in the northeast half of the main aircraft parking apron.
SS-31: is located south of Buildings 1708 and 1731, is in the vicinity of a former fuel hydrant that delivers jet fuel to aircraft on the parking apron.
SS-32: consists of potential underground preferential contamination pathways including storm sewer pipes, former stream beds and hydrant line crossings.
SS-33: is part of a grouping of industrial facilities located south of ST-09. Building 1750 is used as a heavy equipment repair shop and Building 1751 serves as a warehouse for repair supplies and shop for maintenance activities at the McGuire Industrial Area. Small spills of diesel and oil has occurred adjacent to these buildings.
Current Status of OU-6: The Air Force is completing the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. A draft feasibility study evaluationg possible remedial alternatives has been submitted by the Air Force for review by EPA and NJDEP.
Operable Unit 7 (OU-7)
OT-06: A pesticide wash area along the northwestern portion of the base. The entomology shop, Building 3450, has been removed. Heavy metals and pesticides are of concern.
OT-10: A 2-acre area currently used as a parking lot for heavy equipment and supplies. The area has been in use since the 1940s.
SS-27: A former roads and grounds pesticide mixing shop that operated from 1963 to 1974. Large volumes of fuels were mixed here and frequent small spills occurred.
SS-40: Area associated with Building 3401, a large aircraft hangar used for vehicle maintenance activities. Various chemicals (e.g., solvents, paints, paint thinners, cleaning agents, detergents, fuels, waste oils) were stored in 55-gallon drums and subsequently emptied.
Current Status of OU-7: The Air Force is completing the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. A feasibilty study is scheduled for submittal in 2020.
Operable Unit 8 (OU-8)
FT-08: The fire protection training area is a 3-acre site used from the late 1940s to 1958. Waste oils, AVGAS, jet fuel, hydraulic fluid and solvents were burned there.
FT-11: Is a fire training area used from 1958 to 1973. JP-4 propulsion fuel was used for fire training exercises.
FT-13: A fire training area that operated from 1973 until the 1980s. It is located in the center of the runway triangle where JP-4 was ignited for training purposes.FT-11: An unlined fire training area used from 1958 to 1973.
OT-14: Non-destructive inspection shop used between 1966 and 1972 to inspect and test aircraft parts for stress fractures.
AT-28: A suspected fire training area southeast of the hazardous cargo parking area.
AT-29: Another suspected fire training area about 400 feet southeast of the main northeast-southwest runway.
Current Status of OU-8: The Air Force is completing the remedial investigation phase of the Superfund cleanup process. A feasibility study is scheduled for submittal in 2020.
Operable Unit (OU-9)
TS-875: A former skeet range used from 1943 to 1959.
XU-874: Former ordnance storage area used since 1940s.
Current Status of OU-9: The Air Force has completed a Phase 1, Comprehensive Site Evaluation Report that EPA hass evaluated. Based on this report, the Air Force has performed a remedial investigation (RI). . Field work for the Phase 2 RI was completed in 2019.
In 2016, two emerging contaminants PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) were confirmed to be present at JBMDL-McGuire. PFOA and FPOS are components of a type of fire-fighting foam that has been used since 1970 to extinguish petroleum fires. Pivate wells off-base have been sampled. No private wells have been found to be above the EPA HAL or NJ standards.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The U.S. Air Force, EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) meet on a regular basis to address the site’s cleanup. EPA and the Air Force signed an Interagency Agreement (IAG) in September 2009. The site is participating in the Installation Restoration Program, a specially funded program established by DoD to identify, investigate and control the migration of hazardous contaminants at military and other DoD facilities. The IAG became effective on December 1, 2009.
The site’s Areas of Concern (AOCs) have been grouped into nine operable units or OUs. The Record of Decision for OU3 was signed September 30, 2019. The selected remedy includes a two-foot thick soil cap over the LF002 and LF020 former landfills, groundwater institional controls (ICs), long term monitoring (LTM) of groundwater and surface water and PCB hot-spot removal outside the LF002 footprint. For WP021 (Waste Water Treatment Plan Disposal Area), the selected remedy includes PCB hot spot removal, LUCs, groundwater ICs and LTM of groundwater and surface water.
Each remaining OU is either in the process of completing remedial investigation reports which discuss the nature and extent of contamination and whether there is a risk to human health and the environment,completing a feasibility study, which evaluates possible alternatives for cleaning up of each OU or is in the process of completing a proposed plan,which will go out to the public for review..
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.
As stated above, each OU contains its own site specific issues and contaminants of concern. On a base- wide level, constituents include: metals, volatiles organics, semi-volatiles organics, pesticides and PCBs. . For more details regarding those contaminants of concern for each OU, one should review the remedial investigation reports which are available at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst local repository.