Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood Area Site)
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Maryland
Harford and Baltimore Counties
EPA ID# MD2210020036
2nd Congressional District
Last Update: January 2013
USA Aberdeen Proving Ground
US Coast Gaurd - Upper Chesapeake Range
USA Edgewood Arsenal
US Coast Guard - Poole Island Range
Current Site StatusInvestigations and cleanups of the widespread contaminated areas continue at this site. There are currently 52 Operable Units to address about 100 contaminated areas. Additional Operable Units were added to address radioactive deck markers, a Vapor Intrusion study of buildings located over ground water plumes and potentially several other areas with contamination revealed by new construction. A Work Plan to conduct remedial investigation at the Military Munition Response Program (MMRP) sites has recently been approved by USEPA. Over 27 Decision Documents have been completed for this huge site, but at least 20 more will need to be issued to complete all of the cleanups this NPL site. Cleanup construction of remedial actions has been completed at twenty three Operable Units. Two RODs were issued for numerous areas at the Westwood Area and the cleanups are completed. Removal of lead contaminated soils at the Cluster 3 Lead Site and radioactive waste at the RAD Yard at the Bush River Area is complete. A ROD for 13 areas in Canal Creek was issued in 2006 and the remedial design is underway. In 2008, RODs were signed for Cluster 9 in the Lauderick Creek Study Area and in Cluster 19 Ft. Hoyle Training Area in the Other Edgewood Study Area (OEA). The New O-Field area removal is completed and a ROD issued for trenches containing high risk wastes and Chemical Warfare Agents. Construction of the New O-Field remedy is almost completed. The White Phosphorous Pits were investigated and the ROD was completed and only land use controls were necessary, remedial action was completed in September 2008. A ROD for the G-Street Salvage Yard site was signed in 2007 and was needed to facilitate BRAC redevelopment of nearby properties. The construction of the remedial actions for two dumps, two small arms ranges and five sediment sites were completed in calendar year 2010. The design and remediation for the G-Street soil and ordnance excavation was completed in the Spring of 2009. A ROD for the 10 Soil Sites at the Canal Creek Study Area was signed in September 2009. In September 2011, EPA signed the Interim Remedial Action Report (I-RACR) for the Cluster 9 in the Lauderick Creek Study Area. The I-RACR documents that the Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) remedial component was operational and successful, LUCs have been implemented and that LTM phase is ongoing. A ROD for the Wright Creek Investigation Area was signed in July 2011, Western Shore and Doves Cove RODs were also signed in September 2011. A ROD for the 26th St Landfill site located in the Bush River Study Area was issued in December 2011. An ESD was issued for the Building 99 site in the Canal Creek Study Area March 2011. A RACR for the 30th Street Landfill and Chemical Disposal Area was issued in 2011. In May 2012, EPA signed the RACRs for the Canal Creek 10 Soils SItes and the Canal Creek Main Industrial Area - Northwest. At the Other Edgewood Areas, a ROD was signed for the Maxwell Point, Doves Cove and Western Shore Investigation Areas in 2011 requiring Land Use Controls (LUC) at each of these sites. A LUC Remedial Design was written and approved in May 2012. RACRs for these three sites were signed by EPA in December 2012. Numerous other waste areas are close to final decisions, but much work remains to be completed at the site. A third five year review is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
Site DescriptionThe Edgewood area is 13,000 acres and includes Gunpowder Neck, Pooles Island, Carroll Island, and Graces Quarters. The Edgewood area was used for the development and testing of chemical agent munitions. From 1917 to the present, the Edgewood area conducted chemical research programs, manufactured chemical agents, and tested, stored, and disposed of toxic materials. The Edgewood area has large areas of land and water and numerous buildings that are contaminated or suspected of contamination. Virtually all the land areas of the site contain contaminated or potentially contaminated sites and potentially buried ordnance. Substances disposed of in the area include significant quantities of napalm, white phosphorus, and chemical agents. On-site surface waters include rivers, streams, and wetlands. There are 38,600 people living within three miles of the site. On-site residences house military personnel and military dependents. Four Edgewood-area standby water supply wells in the Canal Creek area previously served approximately 3,000 people. These wells have been abandoned. The Long Bar Harbor well field of the County Department of Public Works and the well field used by the Joppatowne Sanitary Subdistrict serve 35,000 people within three miles of the site. On-site groundwater sampling has identified various metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemical warfare agent degradation products. On-site soil contamination sampling has identified various VOCs, metals, and unexploded ordnance in surface and subsurface soil. On-site surface water sampling has identified various metals, pesticides, phosphorus, and VOCs. People who accidentally ingest or come in direct contact with contaminated groundwater, surface water, soil, or sediments may be at risk. The area is a designated habitat for bald eagles.
Site ResponsibilityCleanup of this site is the responsibility of the federal government.
NPL Listing HistoryThis site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites requiring long term remedial action on April 10, 1985. The site was formally added to the list February 21, 1990.
Threats and ContaminantsOn-site ground water sampling has identified various metals, pesticides, phosphorus, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemical warfare agent degradation products. On-site soil contamination sampling has identified various VOCs, metals, PCBs, pesticides, and unexploded ordnance in surface and subsurface soil. On-site surface water sampling has identified various metals, pesticides, phosphorus, and VOCs. People who accidentally ingest or come in direct contact with contaminated ground water, surface water, soil, or sediments may be at risk. The area is a designated habitat for bald eagles.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
Actual Construction Underway
The site is being addressed in: initial actions (removals) and long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of the entire site, grouped here according to type of activity.
Significant Early Actions: In 1991, a leaking underground storage tank was removed from the Nike site. Other removal efforts include: testing and removing underground storage tanks, removing contaminated soil and taking post excavation samples, and removing surface wastes from the G-street location and transporting the wastes to an off-site disposal facility. Removal actions continue through 1997 focusing on excavation of soil contaminated with organics, fuel, and radioactive contaminants. A removal action to eliminate the threat posed by chemical munitions in the Lauderick Creek Area (within 1/4 mile from offsite residential properties) was completed.
Long-term Actions in the Canal Creek Area: In 1996 a ROD was written for excavation of soil contaminated with lead and zinc from the Bldg 503 Burn Areas. The soil was used as fill material under a cap being installed over a nearby landfill. Construction began late summer 1997 and was completed in November of 1997. In 2006, a ROD was written for 13 soils sites in Canal Creek - 2 sites required excavation of arsenic contaminated soils with LUCs and the remaining 11 sites were determined to have LUCs only. While conducting excavation activities, White Phosphorus (WP) was found in one of the 13 soil sites (Building 99). The presence of WP in the excavated soils had prevented the planned off-site disposal of the contaminated soil pile. Plans are underway to address the WP contamination in the Building 99 soils. In 2008, a ROD was written for 10 soil sites with LUCs as the preferred alternative. In March 2011, an ESD (Explanation of Significant Differences) was signed for the Building 99 soils to address the WP found at the site. This ESD documents the significant changes to the original selected remedial action for this site. The modification to the original selected remedy is to perform additional processing of the soil to remove the White Phosphorus (WP) from the excavated soil and render the soil safe from WP-related safety hazards for handling, transport and disposal.
In 1996 a ROD was written for installation of a multi-layer cap over the Bldg 103 landfill. The landfill contains process and production equipment and other residual materials from chemical warfare agent production and development in the Canal Creek Area. Construction is complete.
Long-term Actions at Old-O-Field Chemical Munition Landfill: In the fall of 1991 a ROD was written requiring hydraulic containment of contaminated groundwater. An extraction system and chemical treatment system was constructed and has been operational since the fall of 1995. Continuous automated biomonitoring is used to ensure the treated effluent is not toxic to fish. In 1994 a ROD was written to control the threat of fire and explosion caused by the contents of the landfill. The ROD required construction of a permeable cap which is equipped with air monitoring to detect releases, and a system to soak the landfill hydrolyzing any air releases and extinguishing fires. Construction of the cap is complete. In 1997, a ROD requiring long term monitoring of Watson Creek (adjacent to Old O-Field) was written. A removal of contaminated soils at New O-Field is completed and a ROD was signed for New O-Field in 2009. The design for New O-Field was completed and the remedial action is almost completed.
Long-term Actions at the Old Nike Site: In 1996 a ROD was written for the Nike Site requiring extraction and treatment of groundwater contaminated with TCE, install a cap on a small landfill, clean and seal a contaminated sewer system. These actions are completed. As previously written a Non-Time Critical Removal action was completed to remove chemical ordnance items within 1/4 mile of the facility boundary and is completed. The sewer system action was completed in the summer of 1997. The landfill cap was completed in the summer of 1998. Construction of the groundwater treatment plant is complete and the plant is operating as expected.
Long-term Actions at J-Field: In 1996 a ROD was written for the J-Field Area requiring removal of contaminated soil, installation of a soil cap, and construction of erosion control measures. Construction began in the spring of 1998, and has been completed. A test to determine if phytoremediation with trees can effectively contain the contaminated groundwater and remove contaminants at J-Field was completed and a ROD for groundwater was issued and the construction of the remedial action has been completed. A remedial investigation has been completed for the J-Field White Phosphorous Pits and the ROD was issued in 2007 which required land use controls. Remedial actions (LUCs) were implemented and completed in September 2008.
Long-term Actions at Carroll Island/Graces Quarters: Also in 1996 a ROD was written requiring the excavation of 13 disposal pits on Carroll Island which contained remnants of chemical agent testing. Removal of the pits is complete. A decision was made to restrict future land use and to armor vulnerable shoreline against future erosion using breakwaters and other structures. The construction of the shoreline protection and all surface waste removal has been completed. A ground water remediation system was installed at Graces Quarters to address solvent contaminated ground water and is completed, operational and has dramatically reduced VOC levels in the aquifer. The Graces Quarters and Carroll Island sites is construction complete.
A treatment plant has been completed at the Nike Site and is currently treating groundwater. Construction of the Canal Creek water treatment plant was completed and the plant is in operation.
In the summer of 2001, a decision was reached requiring the Army to pump and treat lead and zinc contaminated groundwater in the Canal Creek Area of the facility. Design work and construction was completed and the treatment system has reduced contamination almost to MCLs. The Lauderick Creek O&E removal action removed a huge number of munitions and was completed in 2003.
A ROD was issued to address 33 sites in the Westwood Area recently and the remedial actions are completed. The last and final ROD for the entire Westwood Area has been signed and remedial actions completed.
At the Other Edgewood Areas, a ROD was signed for the Maxwell Point, Doves Cove and Western Shore Investigation Areas in 2011 requiring Land Use Controls (LUC) at each of these sites. A LUC Remedial Design was written and aproved by the USEPA in 2012. Remedial Investigation is ongoing at Swaderic-Watson, Gun Club Creek, Coopers Creek and Boone Creek Investigation Areas.