Superfund Site Profile

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The U.S. Army at Redstone Arsenal (RSA) is an active installation that encompasses 38,300 acres of land southwest of Huntsville, Alabama. Since opening in the early 1940s, development within RSA has largely revolved around the historical need to produce, and later dispose of, conventional and chemical munitions. From 1942 to 1945, DA operations were used to manufacture raw materials for toxic agents and incendiary materials, and to assemble, store, and ship the final products. Onsite waste disposal activities included the disposal of construction debris, drums, and chemical munitions, and open burning of combustible materials. After the war, the RSA became a center for the receipt, storage, and demilitarization of Allied and German chemical agents. In 1949, RSA’s mission changed to research and development of rocketry and guided missile systems. In 1960, civilian rocketry and missile activities were transferred to National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) which is located in the central portion of the installation (1,841 acres). Since then, the area known as MSFC has been used to develop, test, and manufacture space vehicles and components. MSFC is NASA’s principal propulsion development center. NASA uses a state of the art propulsion laboratory for developing and testing the newest propulsion system innovations at MSFC. Its scientists, engineers, and support personnel also play a major role in managing experiments conducted on the International Space Station and management and development of the Space Launch System.

EPA added RSA (DA/NASA) to the NPL by publication in the Federal Register (FR), 59 FR 27989, on May 31, 1994. MSFC is included in the area of RSA listed on the NPL. The NPL listing is fence to fence. The RSA and NASA cleanup programs are separately funded and operated. They coordinate on common programmatic needs such as data sharing, consistent cleanup and technical issues.

In 2001, the EPA, NASA and Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) for the MSFC portion of the site. The FFA integrates both NASA’s RCRA requirements and Superfund requirements. The FFA helps make sure that the parties will fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities. It also helps ensure that they will take appropriate cleanup actions. The FFA establishes schedules, priorities and enforceable milestones for cleanup activities.  To date, there is not a signed FFA at RSA.