Superfund Site Profile
The 3,500-acre Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) site is located in Charles County, Maryland, about 25 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The NSWC was established in 1890 as the Naval Proving Ground, with the mission of testing explosives and propellants. Over its 100-year history of operations, the facility has manufactured a variety of munitions chemicals. Manufacturing, testing, loading and assembly operations at the site generated explosive, reactive and hazardous wastes. In the past, some of these waste products were routinely dumped into pits and landfills at the facility or burned in open burning grounds. Site activities also included the routine discharge of industrial wastewaters to septic systems, open ditches and storm sewers that emptied directly into surrounding water bodies. These activities contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Remedies have been selected for 11 of the site’s contaminated areas. Several removal actions are underway.