Superfund Site Profile

Cleanup work at this site has been partially funded by $3.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

These funds allowed EPA to begin work in 2010, one year earlier than expected. Part of a landfill berm, and a berm along the river that will help contain dredged sediments have been constructed with the funds.

For more information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act please visit ARRA 


The Atlantic Wood Industries (AWI) site is approximately 48 acres of land on the industrialized waterfront of Portsmouth, Virginia, and 30 to 35 acres of contaminated sediments in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. This land is surrounded by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and several other small industrial properties. From 1926 to 1992, a wood-treating facility operated at the site using both creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP). The site was contaminated from the treatment operation, storage of treated wood and disposal of wastes.
At one time, the Navy leased part of the property from AWI and disposed of waste on site, including used abrasive blast media from the sand blasting of naval equipment resulting in contamination with heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc and arsenic. The Navy also disposed of sludge from the production of acetylene in a wetland on the border of the Southgate Annex of the Shipyard and the AWI site.
Sediments in the Elizabeth River contain heavy metals and visible creosote. The ground water and soil at the site are also contaminated with creosote and heavy metals.
Currently, AWI operates a pre-stressed concrete products manufacturing facility at the site. The site is about seven miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately 14,000 people work within a half-mile radius of the site. The drinking water supply within a three-mile radius is provided by public utilities. Groundwater in this area is not used as a drinking water source.
The AWI Site was added to the EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) of most hazardous waste sites in 1990.



EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers are working together to return this site to beneficial reuse.

Please visit their website here: