NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER - DAHLGREN
On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren (NSWC) site is located 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River in King George County, Virginia. This 4,300-acre naval facility, established in 1918, conducts research, development, testing and evaluation of surface ship weaponry. Activities at Main Side, a 2,678-acre area, include air operations, ordnance testing, laboratory testing, computer facilities, administrative offices and residences. The Explosive Experimental Area (EEA) is an isolated testing range covering 1,614 acres. Historical operations and disposal activities contaminated soil, groundwater and sediment. Cleanups are complete at some sites within NSWC. Operation and maintenance activities at these sites are ongoing. Investigations and remedy selection activities are ongoing at the remaining sites.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal actions. Prior cleanup work includes:
Site 2 Fenced Ordnance Burial Area: The long-term remedy included removal of debris piles, debris-filled trenches and soil hotspots; consolidation of removed debris; capping of the fenced area and removal debris and soils with a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C cap; and institutional controls with periodic monitoring. Construction of the cap finished in 1998.
Site 6 Terminal Range Airplane Park: The long-term remedy included removal of soil and sediment. Remedial action finished in June 2004.
Site 9 Disposal/Burn Area: The long-term remedy included a cap for the landfill. Construction of the cap finished in October 1999.
Site 10 Hideaway Pond: The long-term remedy included institutional controls and long-term monitoring of mercury in fish. EPA signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for this site in September 2000.
Site 12 Chemical Burn Area: The long-term remedy included installation of an air sparging/soil vapor extraction system. Construction of the system finished in 1998. In January 2007, EPA modified the remedy to include excavation of a former burn pit. Excavation began in December 2008 and finished in June 2012. Metals and volatile compounds are the contaminants of concern at the site. They have continued to leach to the groundwater at an unacceptable rate. Remedial action fieldwork at the site finished in August 2013.
Site 17 1400 Area Landfill: The long-term remedy included installation of a landfill cap. Construction of the cap finished in the fall of 2000.
Site 19 Transformer Draining Area: EPA signed a “no further action” ROD for the area in September 1999. The Navy removed contaminated soils in a 1994 removal action. Risk analysis after the
removal revealed that residual risks to human health and the environment were within acceptable limits.
Site 25 Pesticide Rinse Area: The long-term remedy included excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil. Construction began in May 2001 and finished in October 2001.
Site 37 Lead Contamination Area: The remedial design for the excavation of soils at Site 37 finished in March 2005. Because of the discovery of explosives at depth, a new remedy (a soil cover) had to be re-proposed and EPA signed a new ROD in August 2006. Remedy construction started in September 2006 and most of the work finished in November 2007. Additional wetlands were planted at Site 37 in the fall of 2008. The remedial action finished in April 2009.
Site 46 Landfill A, Stump Dump Road: The long-term remedy included removal of contaminated soil and sediment. The remedial action finished in October 2003.
Site 50 Fill Areas Northeast EEA: The Navy completed a removal action in October 2001.
The Navy, with EPA concurrence, has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The Navy is taking action or has taken action at 20 of the contaminated sites at the facility. Sites with ongoing action include:
Site 14 Chemical Waste Evaporation Pond: A short-term remedy included removal of a former chemical waste decontamination pond. The removal action started in January 2008 and finished in June 2009. A final remedy is pending. A ROD is expected by March 2015.
Site 20 Former Electroplating Waste Underground Storage Tank: The long-term remedy included source removal and groundwater treatment. The source removal finished in February 2008. Groundwater injection work started in the spring of 2009. Additional injections are planned for 2014.
Site 61a Gambo Creek Ash Dump: Selection of a final remedy is pending. Pre-design work started in March 2012. The ROD for OU-17 is planned for September 2015.
There are also sites related to the former use of munitions, including depleted uranium and explosives.
Short-term remedies at Sites 4 and 15 included soil excavation. Removal fieldwork finished in the fall of 2011. The final Verification Sampling and Analysis Report, which documents that the removal met site cleanup goals, is currently under review.
Additional investigations at the facility are underway.
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.