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Naval Weapons Station Yorktown - Cheatham Annex

Current Site Information

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

York County

EPA ID# VA3170024605

1st Congressional District

Last Update: January 2013

Other Names

Cheatham Annex

Current Site Status

The Naval Weapons Station Yorktown – Cheatham Annex Facility (CAX) was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) on November 30, 2000. Eight Source Areas were identified at CAX in the final NPL listing including: (1) Site 1 Landfill; (2) Site 9 Transformer Storage Area; (3) Site 11 Bone Yard; (4) Ammonia Settling Pits; (5) TNT Graining House Sump; (6) TNT Catch Box Ruins; (7) Waste Slag Material; (8) 1918 Drum Storage Area. A Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) between the EPA, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VaDEQ), and the Department of the Navy (Navy) was signed in March 2005. The FFA describes the procedures under which the Navy, EPA, and the VaDEQ will investigate and, if necessary, remediate sites at CAX in accordance with CERCLA. Sites 1 and 11 have signed Records of Decision (ROD) at CAX. A ROD is the official document that establishes how each site will be remediated.

Site Description

The Naval Weapons Station Yorktown – Cheatham Annex Facility (Cheatham Annex) is a 1,579-acre federal facility located outside of Williamsburg, in York County, Virginia. The facility is located adjacent to the York River approximately 15 miles upstream of the Chesapeake Bay. The primary mission of Cheatham Annex is that of a naval supply depot; receiving, storing, packing and shipping materials to military facilities on the east coast and major distribution centers in Europe. Construction of the navy supply facility began in 1942. Cheatham Annex was commissioned in June 1943 as a satellite unit of the Naval Supply Depot in Norfolk, Virginia to provide bulk storage facilities in the Tidewater, Virginia area. The mission of Cheatham Annex has remained essentially the same since its commissioning.

Prior to Navy ownership and activity, the site was the location of an explosives manufacturing facility operated by the DuPont de Nemours Company. Construction of a TNT and dynamite manufacturing Plant, designated as "Factory # 37", began in 1916. During it's construction in 1916, Factory 37 was renamed the "Penniman TNT Plant" in honor of the inventor of TNT. The Penniman TNT Plant was completed in October 1916. In 1917, Penniman was converted to a shell loading plant under contract to the U.S. Government, and was renamed U.S. Penniman Shell Loading Plant. In 1918, following the end of WWI, the facility was re-designated as the Penniman General Ordnance Depot. Between 1918 and 1926, the U.S. Government operated the Penniman General Ordnance Depot primarily to prepare ordnance and explosives for long-term storage at other ordnance Depots in the United States. During this same period, DuPont was decommissioning military ordnance and dismantling the former Shell Loading Plant. In 1926, all of the property formerly known as the U.S. Penniman Shell Loading Plant, the Penniman General Ordnance Depot, and the Penniman TNT Plant were transferred to private parties, and a majority of the land reverted to farm use.

An EPA Site Inspection (SI) was completed at a portion of the Penniman Shell Loading Plant site in 1999. The EPA SI identified sources that were formerly part of the overall DuPont plant. Five of the Source Areas were used to place CAX on the NPL are related to former Penniman activities.

An Initial Assessment Study (IAS), conducted by the Navy, was completed at Cheatham Annex in 1984. This study identified twelve disposal sites and potential contamination areas. Four of the 12 sites were recommended for additional studies. Three of these sites (identified as Sites 1, 9, and 11 in the IAS) are identified as Source Areas and were used to place the Cheatham Annex facility on the NPL. The Cheatham Annex facility is under the command of the adjacent Naval Weapons Station Yorktown which is also an NPL site.

Site Responsibility

The Cheatham Annex facility is being addressed through Federal actions.

NPL Listing History

This site was proposed as an NPL site on February 4, 2000.

Threats and Contaminants

The sampling results collected from the seven sources currently identified at the facility indicate contamination with semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), explosives, and metals. The sources are not fully contained therefore the contaminants may be available to migrate into adjacent surface waters. Cheatham Annex is located in an area with recreational fisheries. Preliminary surface water and sediment samples were collected at Penniman Lake, Youth Pond, Cheatham Pond and Jones Pond. Results indicate that a release of SVOCs and metals has occurred. Based on these findings, catch-and-release fishing restrictions were placed on Penniman Lake and Youth Pond. Fish tissue samples were collected in late 2012. Results will be available in early 2013.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.

Cleanup Progress

The following activities are planned for FY13:

The following activities were completed in FY12:

The following major activities were completed prior to FY12:


Site Contacts

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage

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