ST. JULIENS CREEK ANNEX (U.S. NAVY)
On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The St. Juliens Creek Annex (U.S. Navy) is located in southeastern Virginia at the confluence of St. Julien's Creek and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in the city of Chesapeake. The northern boundary of the annex is the boundary between the cities of Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Virginia. The Elizabeth River and St. Juliens Creek form the eastern and southern boundaries, respectively, of the annex. Also to the north are residential developments and a road bed of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, and to the south lie sewage disposal and industrial waste ponds and residential developments. A residential section of Chesapeake City abuts the annex on the west. Norfolk Naval Shipyard is located less than one mile to the north. St. Juliens Creek Annex occupies approximately 490 acres, including 407 acres of land, 14 acres of marsh, and 69 acres of surface water.
The St. Juliens Creek Annex began operations in 1849 as an ordnance and material storage facility. In 1898, the facility was equipped for assembling ammunition. From 1898 to 1970, the facility was used to supply ammunition to the fleet in addition to loading, assembling, issuing, and receiving naval gun ammunition, and conducting experimental and test loading for new ammunition.
In 1969, St. Juliens Creek was disestablished under U.S. Department of Defense and was consolidated as an annex to the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, Virginia. Ordnance operations at the facility were terminated in the 1970s.
In 1977, the annex was transferred to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. In 1995, it was transferred to Naval Base, Norfolk, and then it was transferred to Naval Station, Norfolk, in 1996. St. Julien's Creek Annex currently provides administrative offices, light industrial shops, and storage facilities for tenant naval commands. Its primary mission is to provide a radar testing range (35 acres) and various administrative and warehousing structures.
This site was proposed as an NPL site on February 4, 2000. The site was formally added to the list in the July 27, 2000, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
Former operations at the facility that generated potentially hazardous substances include metal plating, degreasing, painting, operation of hydraulic equipment, vehicles and locomotives, ordnance loading, ordnance testing, ordnance disassembly, ordnance destruction, pest control, maintenance of lead-acid batteries, and printing. Trash and garbage generated from the facility was disposed in on-site dumps. Wastes were typically disposed in low areas, which are wetlands. Beginning in the late 1930s, waste ordnance materials were disposed on site. On-site disposal and storage of waste created numerous sources of potential contamination, including landfills and an ordnance disposal (burning) area. Sources of potential contamination located on the facility include four landfills, an ordnance disposal area, an ordnance burn pit, a hazardous waste disposal area, a waste storage area, and a pesticide disposal area. These sources were noted because of their potential to release to the surface water surrounding the facility, i.e. Blows Creek, St. Julien's Creek, and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.
An observed release of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from the sources to St. Juliens Creek and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River has been documented. The Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River provides habitat for numerous species that are identified as threatened or endangered under federal or state legislation. In addition, wetlands are associated with the river. Both St. Juliens Creek and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River are used for recreational fishing.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The ROD for Site 2 was signed on February 22, 2011. Site 2 is a former waste disposal area covering approximately 5.7 acres at the intersection of St. Juliens Road and Cradock Street in the southern portion of SJCA. Operations at the
site began in 1921. Initially, refuse was burned openly onsite and used to fill an adjacent swampy area (Site 2 inlet). Mixed municipal wastes, organics, inorganics, solvents, waste ordnance, and abrasive blast media (ABM) were reportedly disposed of at Site 2. In 1942, an incinerator was installed to replace the open burning practices and was operated until sometime after 1947. The total volume of waste prior to burning is reported to have been approximately 35,000 yd3.. The RI examined the nature and extent of contamination in soil, shallow and deep groundwater, and sediments. Risk drivers at Site 2 included TCE and daughter products (cis-1,2-DCE and Vinyl Cholride), as well as, chloroform and methylene chloride. RD is currently ongoing and the RA is scheduled to begin in 3rd quarter 2012.
Site 5: A Non-Time Critical Removal Action (NTCRA) is currently in progress for the Site 5, the former Burning Grounds. During the excavation, a munition and explosive of concern (MEC) was found at Site 5. Following Navy health and safety policy, worked has been ceased until the potential risk from the munition could be addressed. Once precautions are taken to address potential arcs associated with the MEC, work will resume. The task consists of excavating the entire waste/burnt soil area as well as several other large areas and hotspots that are contributing to the overall human health and ecological risk at the site. As part of the NTCRA, a portion of the excavated area will be established as an upland area, another portion as a transitional area, and the remaining portion as a wetland. The navy is preparing an Action Memorandum to address the MEC and the wetland at the site. The final Action Memo was completed in July 2010.
Site 21: The final Site 21 Remedial Investigation (RI) report that defines the nature and extent of contamination at the site has been finalized. Historical activities at the site have included machine, vehicle and locomotive maintenance, electrical shops, munitions loading facilities and equipment and chemical storage. Contaminants of concern identified during the RI include; TCE, cis-1,2-DCE and Vinyl Cholride. Risk drivers have been found in the shallow groundwater and are currently being investigated in the indoor air due to the nature of the contaminants (volatile organic compounds). The Navy and EPA have finalized a feasibility study looking at remedial alternatives to address the groundwater contamination at Site 21 . The proposed remedy at Site 21 is the injection of a reducing agent (ZVI) in hot spots with the injection of Emulsified Vegetable Oil (EVO) in the lower concentration portions of the plume. EVO is used to enhance the naturally occurring dechlorination process that is currently going on at the site. The Navy is also currently evaluating the potential for vapor intrusion to the buildings above the Site 21 groundwater plume. Workers in the vicinity of Site 21 have been moved from the buildings within the footprint of the plume and will return to the buildings once it is determined to be safe to do so. The Interim ROD for this site was signed on May 12, 2010. EPA concurred with the Proposed Plan for the Site. The public meeting was held on May 11, 2011. Members of the RAB also visited the site for a tour on May 11, 2011. The final ROD for this site was signed in September 2011
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
This site is being addressed through Federal actions under the jurisdiction of the Navy and oversight from EPA. This site was proposed as an NPL site on February 4, 2000. The site was formally added to the list in the July 27, 2000, making it eligible for federal cleanup fund.
Emergency Response and Removal
Investigations continue at three additional sites (Sites 2, 5, 21) which may require removal and/or remedial actions.
A Non-Time Critical Removal Action (NTCRA) at Site 19-Building 190 was completed in May 2006. to address the Elevated Subsurface polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Metallic Slag areas. The action was comprised of excavation of contaminated soils and backfilled with imported clean fill. A final Closeout Report for Site 19 was completed in December 2006.
With the completion of two non-time critical removal actions at two areas (Site 3: Landfill C, and Site 6: Ordnance Disposal Pit) unacceptable risk to human health and the environment has been eliminated. As a result, No Further Action Records of Decisions (RODs) have been completed for Sites 3 and 6.
A ROD has also been signed at an additional area (Site 4: Landfill D). The selected remedial action for this site includes partial removal/consolidation of fill material, a soil cover and Land Use Controls (LUCs).
A Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment for Blows Creek Watershed was completed in 2006 and recommended No Further Action.
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.