Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

FORMER NANSEMOND ORDNANCE DEPOT
SUFFOLK, VA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The 975-acre Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot site is located in Suffolk, Virginia. Between 1917 and 1960, the Army used the property for munitions storage, shipment, classification, reconditioning, loading and destruction. At the end of World War II, the Navy used the Depot for demobilization, including the destruction of explosives, ammunition and chemicals. The site also includes an abandoned landfill and an offshore area, which extends from the low tide line to one mile offshore, to the James River and Nansemond River channels. Site activities contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater. Investigations are ongoing.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal actions.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a non-time critical removal action at the James River Beachfront disposal area, whereby the landfill contents were removed and the shoreline stabilized through the placement of rock rip-rap. The removal action was completed in December, 2001. A remedial investigation was performed on the remaining impacted soils at the James River Beachfront disposal area, which was finalized in 2011.

A feasibility study and Record of Decision are planned for the James River Beachfront disposal area in the immediate future to close-out this site. Additionally, a remedial investigation has been completed in 2011 for the Horseshoe Pond disposal area, with a feasibility study underway in 2012.

To date, over 400 munitions have been excavated from former NOD property which were considered "live" or to contain enough explosives to warrant disposal/deactivation by denotation. The remaining munitions response activities at the FNOD are being conducted as non-time critical removal activities, and currently include munitions investigations at the former burning grounds and steam-out pond areas of the FNOD.

The interim Land Use Control Implementation Plan (LUCIP) was completed August 21, 2002, and called for the City of Suffolk and the Virginia Community College System/Tidewater Community College to impose land use controls for munitions at the FNOD. The Virginia Community College System/Tidewater Community College signed a memorandum of Agreement with the Corps of Engineers on February 2, 2005 to implement land use controls for munitions at the FNOD. The City of Sufflok, Virginia agreed to the same in August, 2005. Land Use Controls for MEC are expected to be made final in a future Record of Decision for MEC at the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot NPL site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot ("FNOD") is located in Suffolk, Virginia, near the northwestern end of State Route 135. Use and ownership of the property prior to 1917 is not known. Local historians claim, however, that the Confederate States of America maintained an artillery battery, referred to as "Pig Point", on the property during the Civil War in order to protect the entrance to the Nansemond River. The property was obtained by the United States Department of Army between 1917 and 1929 and was known as Pig Point Ordnance Depot. During World War I, the facility was used for munitions storage, shipment, classification, and destruction, handling up to 1300 tons of ammunition daily. In 1929, the name of the facility was changed from Pig Point Ordnance Depot to Nansemond Ordnance Depot. During World War II, the facility supported operations at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, including storage and transhipment of all types of ammunition overseas. It also received captured enemy munitions for processing and further shipment to other U.S. military facilities. Toward the end of the war, it was used as a distribution depot, and performed reconditioning and loading of ammunition. In April 1945, the Depot was in demobilization, including the destruction of unserviceable explosives, ammunition, and chemicals. In November 1950, the facility was transferred to the Department of the Navy, then known as the Marine Corps Supply Forwarding Annex. In June 1960, the facility was declared excess by the Federal government. Of the original 975.3 acres, 5.87 acres were being used at that time by the State for road right-of-way. The remaining government property was conveyed to the Beazley Foundation Boys Academy, which operated a private boys military academy there until 1968. The Beazley Foundation conveyed portions of the site to Virginia Electric Power Company in 1960, General Electric Company ("GE") in 1965, and the former County of Nansemond for road right-of-way in 1966. In 1968, Beazley Foundation ceased operations and donated the remaining property to the Virginia Department of Community Colleges, which currently uses it for the Frederick Campus of Tidewater Community College. VDCC later conveyed one portion of the property to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District and allowed another portion to be used for the construction of Interstate 664. The property acquired by GE in 1965 included an existing military building, which was modifed by GE in 1966, doubling its size. This modified building was utilized by GE as a television assembly plant. GE also added a finished goods warehouse onto this building in the early 1970s. GE eventually acquired a total of about 134 acres of the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot. GE operated a television assembly plant at this location until approximately 1988. Of the 207 acres deeded to Virginia Electric Power Company (now known as Dominion Power) by the Beazley Foundation in 1960, Dominion Power plans to develop 135 acres and adjacent property into an industrial/commercial park called Bridgeway Commerce Park. In addition, the City of Suffolk plans to acquire a portion of TCC property for the purpose of developing a commercial area called the Hampton Roads Technology Park on 158 acres in the eastern portion of the former NOD. This latter complex would be constructed along both sides of I-664 and contain office and research and development space, a high-technology workforce development center, hotels and corporate/conference centers, a restaurant, and a day care facility.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

The Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot ("FNOD") is located in Suffolk, Virginia, near the northwestern end of State Route 135. Use and ownership of the property prior to 1917 is not known. Local historians claim, however, that the Confederate States of America maintained an artillery battery, referred to as "Pig Point", on the property during the Civil War in order to protect the entrance to the Nansemond River.

The property was obtained by the United States Department of Army between 1917 and 1929 and was known as Pig Point Ordnance Depot. During World War I, the facility was used for munitions storage, shipment, classification, and destruction, handling up to 1300 tons of ammunition daily. In 1929, the name of the facility was changed from Pig Point Ordnance Depot to Nansemond Ordnance Depot. During World War II, the facility supported operations at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, including storage and transhipment of all types of ammunition overseas. It also received captured enemy munitions for processing and further shipment to other U.S. military facilities. Toward the end of the war, it was used as a distribution depot, and performed reconditioning and loading of ammunition.

In April 1945, the Depot was in demobilization, including the destruction of unserviceable explosives, ammunition, and chemicals. In November 1950, the facility was transferred to the Department of the Navy, then known as the Marine Corps Supply Forwarding Annex.

In June 1960, the facility was declared excess by the Federal government. Of the original 975.3 acres, 5.87 acres were being used at that time by the State for road right-of-way. The remaining government property was conveyed to the Beazley Foundation Boys Academy, which operated a private boys military academy there until 1968. The Beazley Foundation conveyed portions of the site to Virginia Electric Power Company in 1960, General Electric Company ("GE") in 1965, and the former County of Nansemond for road right-of-way in 1966.

In 1968, Beazley Foundation ceased operations and donated the remaining property to the Virginia Department of Community Colleges, which currently uses it for the Frederick Campus of Tidewater Community College. VDCC later conveyed one portion of the property to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District and allowed another portion to be used for the construction of Interstate 664. The property acquired by GE in 1965 included an existing military building, which was modifed by GE in 1966, doubling its size. This modified building was utilized by GE as a television assembly plant. GE also added a finished goods warehouse onto this building in the early 1970s. GE eventually acquired a total of about 134 acres of the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot. GE operated a television assembly plant at this location until approximately 1988.

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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.

Chemicals of concern identified in the RI/FS included heavy metals and 2-amino-4,6-dinitro-toluene ("2-A-4,6-DNT") in surface soils, and heavy metals, TNT, 2,4-dinitrotolu-ene ("DNT"), trinitroben-zene ("TNB"), dinitrobenzene ("DNB"), 2-A-4,6-DNT, N-methyl-N,2,4,6-tetranitro-anili-ne ("tetryl"), and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine ("RDX") in ground water. Between April and June 1992, 316 tons of contaminated soil and miscellaneous ordnance items, including 2 3" British shells were removed from the Removal Area. Confirmatory soil samples indicated the presence of residual soil contamination. Known hazardous substances associated with the known waste sources located at the FNOD include various metals, VOCs, SVOCs, nitroaromatics, and PCBs. Lead and several nitroaromatics have been released to the ground water. Metals, SVOCs, and TNT have been released to surface water. Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.


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Emergency Response and Removal

Cleanup to date has included several removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. These actions, which began in 1988, included removal of munitions, explosives, contaminated debris and miscellaneous ordnance items; excavation of contaminated soil; extension of municipal water lines to the Tidewater Community College Campus; land use restrictions; removal of landfill contents; and shoreline stabilization.

November 1988 to February 1991 - TCC Soccer Field Area Removal Action: the following materials were removed from the TCC Soccer Field area by the USACE: 4,400 pounds of munitions boosters, 260 pounds of bulk explosives, 1,360 pounds of munitions/miscellaneous ordnance (19 live 3" British shells), and 30,275 pounds of contaminated soil.

April to June 1992 - TCC Soccer Field Area Removal Action: USACE conducted additional removal action activities at the TCC Soccer Field area: 316 tons of contaminated soil and miscellaneous ordnance items, including 2 three-inch British shells, were removed from TCC property. Confirmatory soil samples indicated the presence of residual soil contamination, including lead and TNT.

From October, 1996 to November, 1996, a removal action was conducted by the USACE which involved the sifting of excavated soil that had been stockpiled during the construction of a storm water detention pond at the Tidewater Community College. The sifted soil contained munitions fuze adapters, munitions boosters, 20 mm projectiles, 37 mm projectiles, and 60 mm mortars. The USACE sifting operation resulted in the removal of 500 cubic yards of soil and 31,450 pounds of ordnance material.

From November, 1998 to January, 1999, a removal action was conducted by the USACE which involved the removal of 857 tons of XXCC3 material, also referred to as impregnite, and associated soils from disposal trenches located on property owned by Dominion Lands, Inc. XXCC3 is a granular powder used to neutralize chemical warfare agents. Based upon the success of the removal action, the soils at the impregnation kit disposal area were delisted from the NPL on March 20, 2003.

On December 30, 1999, EPA and USACE finalized an enforceable agreement for the performance of a time-critical removal action for ordnance and explosive hazards at specific areas identified at the FNOD. The time-critical removal action included: (1) access restrictions to the James River Beachfront disposal source area and the Nansemond River Beachfront disposal source area, which includes fencing and signage; (2) implementation of institutional controls for ordnance at the FNOD, specifically including the areas identified as Dominion Lands A, Dominion Lands B, General Electric A, and General Electric B; and (3) the location, identification, excavation, and removal of buried munitions at 5 discrete areas identified at the FNOD along with appropriate post-removal site control.

The initiation of the physical removal of identified munitions at the 5 discrete areas began in March, 2000. The physical munitions removal activity at the 5 discrete areas was competed in June, 2004. The time-critical removal action for ordnance and explosive hazards at the FNOD also included post removal site control. Interim land use controls for munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) at the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot NPL site were jointly developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Norfolk District and EPA-Region III to protect human health and the environment where the risk from MEC is known, suspected, or cannot be totally eliminated by the CERCLA process.

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Enforcement Information

On November 8, 2001, EPA and General Electric (GE) finalized an Administrative Order on Consent (Consent Order), which required GE to perform a Supplemental Site Investigation to determine if GE contributed to contamination on specific portions of GE property that were once part of the FNOD.

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Operable Units

During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.

View a list of all of the operable units at this site.

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Cleanup Progress

View the schedule for cleaning up this site.

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