Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The 236 square-mile Camp Lejeune Military Res. (US Navy) site is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The site includes an active U.S. Navy (Navy) base. The base opened in 1942. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of contaminated groundwater, sediment, soil and surface water resulting from base operations and waste handling practices. EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and the Navy have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean it up to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site.

EPA, NCDENR and the Navy continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination by conducting site investigations, cleanup activities and the required Five-Year Reviews, and placing institutional controls on the site property.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The 236 square-mile site is located in a rural area of Onslow County, just south of Jacksonville, North Carolina. The site includes the active Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune. The base includes six areas: Camp Geiger, Montford Point, Courthouse Bay, Mainside, the Greater Sandy Run Area and the Rifle Range Area. MCB Camp Lejeune was commissioned in 1942 as a training area to prepare Marines for combat. The New River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, bisects the site and is used for fishing and recreation. State Route 24 borders the site to the north. The Atlantic Ocean borders the site to the south and east. U.S. Route 17 borders the site to the west.

In 1989, the EPA placed the site on the NPL. Base operations at the site currently include industrial, recreational, commercial and residential land uses. The Navy leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and the NCDEQ.  The Navy has completed several cleanup activities at the site. Other site investigations and cleanup activities are ongoing.

  • From 1994 to 2000, the Navy removed and disposed of contaminated soils, drums, above ground storage tanks, underground storage tanks, batteries, waste liquids and dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) from areas across the site. At several of these areas, the Navy conducted additional activities to address associated groundwater contamination. For example, in 2006, the Navy completed a groundwater study to evaluate the effectiveness of the cleanup approach for “hot spot” contaminated areas near the highway bypass.
  • In 1996, the Navy treated contaminated soil using a treatment system. The Navy also installed a groundwater treatment system and a bio-treatment cell for contaminated soil.
  • In 2001, the Navy completed a time-critical removal action using low-level heat to extract contamination from soil.
  • In 2003 and 2004, the Navy conducted a pilot-scale treatability study using electrical resistance heating to treat areas containing DNAPL.  An estimated 48,000 pounds of VOCs were removed from soils during the study.
  • Cleanup activities have focused on 25 areas, which the EPA refers to as operable units (OUs). The cleanup for several areas has included institutional controls and groundwater monitoring. At OU-7 (Sites 1, 28 and 30) and OU-4 (Sites 41 and 74), the Navy conducted groundwater monitoring until concentrations of contaminants were below site cleanup goals. The Navy completed cleanup activities at these OUs in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
  • In 2003 and 2006, the Navy completed additional removals of contaminated soil. In 2007 and 2008, the Navy completed cleanup at OU-16 (Site 93). The remedy included institutional controls, groundwater monitoring and use of chemicals called oxidants to break down contaminants. The Navy has placed institutional controls on portions of the site to prohibit intrusive activities, groundwater use and non-industrial land uses in these areas.
  • Activities from 2010 to 2014 have included three non-time-critical removal actions at Site 6 (OU-2), UXO-01 and UXO-23; installation of treatment systems at Sites 35, 73 and 89; and installation of a treatment system for Site 69. Construction of a multilayer cap with an impermeable layer for Site 69 was complete in 2014.
  • Investigations at several areas on site are continuing. The focus is on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metal contamination in ground water, and the potential of vapor intrusion into on-site buildings. The Navy continues to conduct long-term maintenance activities including maintaining institutional controls and ground water treatment systems.
  • During the summer of 2016, the Navy conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of potential cleanup alternatives for groundwater. The Navy planned a supplemental investigation to further evaluate and delineate source areas and extent of contamination and to finalize a feasibility study for a portion of the site.
  • During the 2016-17 timeframe, EPA reviewed, commented on conducted sampling activities at the base. Community updates were planned to discussed the RI/FS for Site UXO-28 that will require LUCs, and also gave updates on progress of investigation of Sites 6 and 82 (old dump sites). EPA approved the Site 88 FS, and sent comments on the Long-term Monitoring UFP-SAP for Sites 3, 6, 35, 36, 49, 69, 73, 78, 82, 86, 89, 93, 99, 100, and 101. EPA approved the Site 89 Supplemental Investigation UFP-SAP on November 15th. EPA is currently reviewing the 2018 SMP and the Draft ROD for Site UXO-06.    
  • Earlier this year EPA approved the Final FY2018 Long-term Monitoring Sampling and Analysis for Sites 3, 6 and 82, 35, 36, 49, 69, 73, 78, 86, 89, 93, 99, 100, and 101 3, 6 and 82, 35, 36, 49, 69, 73, 78, 86, 89, 93, 99, 100, and 101. 
  • EPA is reviewing the Draft Base Master Plan, the Draft Site 73 Long-Term Monitoring Report, and the Draft Expanded Site Investigation for Site UXO-23. Lejeune has conducted a Non-Time Critical Removal action at Site UXO-23 and is proposing No Further Action for the site.                

The Navy, in cooperation with EPA and NCDEQ, has pioneered the use of numerous groundbreaking technologies to increase the effectiveness of cleanup efforts and to reduce risk. In recent years, groundwater cleanup methods have evolved to include more efficient and cost-effective approaches, such as monitored natural attenuation, permeable reactive barriers, electrical resistance heating of the subsurface to treat VOCs, soil mixing with zero valent iron to treat VOC source areas, air-sparging with horizontal wells, enhanced reductive dechlorination by injecting emulsified vegetable oil, and in-situ chemical oxidation by injecting strong oxidizers into the subsurface.  These cleanup methods have proven to be highly effective in reducing contamination in source areas and remediating groundwater at the site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on 25 areas, which EPA refers to as operable units (OUs). These OUs cover large portions of the site and contain one or more areas of contamination.

Since 1992, the Navy and EPA have issued a series of cleanup decisions or Records of Decision (RODs) for 26 sites. The RODs describe the preferred cleanup approach for specific parts of the site. More recently, the Navy and EPA issued a ROD for Site 49 of OU-23 (April 2014), and for Site UXO-19 of OU-25 (December 2015). The remedy for Site 49 included using monitored natural attenuation; placing institutional controls to limit exposure to groundwater and prohibit the use of groundwater except for monitoring.  The remedy for Site UXO-19 included implementing institutional controls to limit exposure to contaminated soils. Between 2016 and 2020, four additional RODs are expected to be issued.

Every five years, cleanup actions at the site are reviewed to ensure that people and environmental resources are protected. The site’s most recent Five-Year Review was reported in 2015. The review found that cleanup actions will protect people and the environment over the long-term once complete. By cleaning up and monitoring soils and groundwater, maintaining institutional controls to prevent people from coming into contact with contamination, and undertaking periodic reviews of all cleanup actions the Navy, EPA and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination. The next Five-Year Review is scheduled for 2020.

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Sampling and Monitoring

Sampling and periodic monitoring by the Navy has identified various contaminants in soil, surface water, sediments, and groundwater on the site. Additional investigations are ongoing at several areas on site. The focus is VOC and metal contamination in ground water and the potential for vapor intrusion into on-site buildings. The Navy is conducting on-going studies to evaluate the effectiveness of potential cleanup alternatives and supplemental investigations, to further evaluate and delineate source areas and the extent of contamination.

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Enforcement Information

In 1991, the EPA, NCDEQ, and the Navy signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) for the site. The FFA helps make sure that the parties will fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities and undertake and complete appropriate cleanup actions. The FFA also establishes schedules and enforceable milestones for cleanup activities. The schedule is updated annually by the Navy and approved by EPA and NCDEQ. As lead agency under CERCLA, the Navy retains the responsibility to clean up the site. EPA and NCDEQ are the oversight regulators for the cleanup of Camp Lejeune per CERCLA as detailed in the FFA.

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