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Fort George G. Meade

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Anne Arundel County

EPA ID# MD9210020567

2nd Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names


Current Site Status

Southeast and Off-post Groundwater
At a meeting on January 21, 2009 the Army informed EPA that groundwater from 2-monitoring wells located just East of the base in Odenton, Maryland, showed results exceeding the Federal MCLs for Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4), Tetrachloroethene (PCE), and Trichloroethene (TCE). The Army completed a well survey of homes located within 1-mile of these detections. Once residents were identified to be on well water, their wells were sampled to determine the presence or absence of these contaminants. As a precautionary measure, residents that have indicated they are using groundwater wells for their drinking water source, have been provided bottled water. This site is currently in the Remedial Investigation stage in order to determine the nature and extent of contamination. EPA and the Army have completed an Action Memorandum which has taken immediate action to address contaminant source areas on site. As part of the Action Memorandum, a groundwater treatment system has been installed for the purpose of capturing and treating groundwater flowing from the base. This system is now operational. Source area treatment through in-situ chemical oxidation and air sparge/soil vapor extraction is also underway at the suspected release points.

Tipton Airfield
The first Record of Decision ('ROD') for the Tipton Air Field parcel was signed on December 30, 1998. A subsequent ROD for another portion of Tipton was signed in June 1999. The Army began long-term monitoring of the Tipton area groundwater in June 2001. As part of the Federal Facility Agreement, the Army submitted an Explanation of Significant Differences that requires long-term monitoring, sweeps and proper disposal of ordnance if discovered, and land use control requirements to ensure the continued protectiveness of the UXO removal action at Tipton. The document was finalized in 2014. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Ordnance Demolition Area (ODA)
EPA has approved the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study ('RI/FS') for the Ordnance Disposal Area ('ODA'), and the Army has done some preliminary sampling of the site to evaluate natural attenuation parameters. A Proposed Plan was finalized, but progress towards a final ODA ROD has been delayed due to Army questioning EPA NPL authorities at the ODA. The Department of the Army signed a Decision Document on January 20, 2006 without the consent or concurrence of EPA. In a letter dated November 2006 EPA informed the Installation commander that it has exceeded its authority under CERCLA section 120 by unilaterally issuing the order. In November 2009 EPA received the paperwork with withdraw the unilateral decision document for ODA. The Army and EPA have since signed a joint Record of Decision that selects Monitored Natural Attenuation and Land Use Controls as the remedy for the site. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Manor View Dump Site
Excavation by the family housing contractor early in 2003 unearthed a 1940s waste dump, and further investigation by the Army determined that the dump extended onto the grounds of the on base Manor View Elementary School. Sampling has occurred in and around the Elementary School to ensure safety of the students and faculty. Preliminary results revealed no immediate human health threat, due in part due to a six foot earthen barrier that covers the waste material. Additional soil sampling was conducted to assess any possible health risk to the students. Buried waste was discovered in early 2004 further from the school, and closer to the site of the future housing units. Results from the RI reveled levels of methane above the lower explosive limit at the dump. The draft final RI was submitted in October 2007 and has been reviewed and commented on by EPA. Twenty homes were built on the parcel where the methane was discovered and 12 families are currently evacuated until this area is determined to be protective of human health. As an interim measure, the Army is in the process of using an aggressive soil gas venting system to reduce methane levels from the waste dump. An Interim Removal Action to addressing all methane generating was completed in 2012. A Record of Decision was signed in 2014 selection long-term monitoring of methane and groundwater and Land Use controls as the remedial action. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Closed Sanitary Landfill (CSL)
CSL is a State permitted landfill closed under RCRA authority in the mid 90's. Sample results for the landfill have revealed elevated levels of Benzene. Initially, it was believed that the PCE and carbon tetrachloride at the post boundary were related to the CSL, but after further investigation, this is not the case. A Remedial Investigation, that evaluates the nature and extent of contamination, is currently ongoing for this site.

A Remedial Investigation is currently underway to determine the nature and extent of contamination in the area of the Post Laundry Facility, Former Tank Cleaning Supply Warehouse, Former Tank Maintenance Facility Shop-1 and 2, the Former Missile Repair Shop (Building 2220), and Former Motor Pool. A Preliminary Assessment will be conducted on Wash Rack 5 associated with this OU. Groundwater from this site is currently being investigated as part of the "Southeast and Off-post Groundwater" area. Please see above for additional details.

A 1995 excavation revealed a total of 267 drums, two transformers, and one high voltage box at the DRMO site. The test results for the drums contents indicated solvents, degreasers, petroleum products metals, pesticides, and PCBs were present in the drums. The soil test results indicated VOCs and semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) (primarily fuel compounds), PCBs, and metals were present. The groundwater at DRMO has been shown to have elevated levels of VOCs. The Army is currently in the process of completing a Feasibility Study that compares remedial alternatives for the site.

Clean Fill Dump
The Clean Fill Dump is located in the Southeastern portion of the base. The dump covers approximately 13-acres and was used form 1972 until 1985 for the disposal of miscellaneous
debris, such as stumps, trees, logs, concrete, construction debris, old appliances, and fill dirt. Other materials that may have been disposed of include garbage, cans, bottles, ash, and possibly some hazardous materials. A remedial investigation was completed in 1998 which defined the nature and extent of contamination associated with the site. In 2000, the Army issued an Action Memorandum that establishes Land Use Controls with regard to Unexploded Ordinance. A Record of Decision calling for Long Term Groundwater Monitoring was signed in 2000.

Trap and Skeet Range 17 (BRAC)
A review of a series of aerial photographs (years 1997, 1990, 1984, 1973, 1965, and 1954) revealed that Range 17 was present as early as 1965. Records indicate the closing of the Trap and Skeet Range occurred in 1999. Contamination has been found at the site that poses risk to human health and the environment. In 2014. a Record of Decision was signed by the Army and EPA selecting soils removal and Land use controls as the remedial action. This Remedial Action is expected to get underway in the Spring of 2015. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Former Trap and Skeet Range (OU-1 IRP)
The Former Trap and Skeet Range is a 44-acre site used (affected) by Fort Meade from the mid-1970s through 1994. A Remedial Investigation is currently underway for the site. Once the nature and extent of contamination is defined, the Army and EPA will evaluate remedial alternatives for the site.

Former Pesticide Shop
During WWII, the building served as a mess hall for prisoners of war. Between 1958 and
1978, the site was used as a pesticide shop. Pesticides stored at the building include malathion,
diazinon, and baygon. During this time, it was also used as a maintenance facility for lawn
mowers, tractors, and other landscaping equipment. The building was demolished in 1996 and
the area graded; currently, the site is vacant and covered with grass. EPA and the Army signed a Record of Decision for this site in September of 2012. The selected Remedial Action was a source area soils removal, Land Use Controls and injections to treat the groundwater plume. This remedial action is expected to take place in the Fall of 2014. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Architect of the Capitol/Library of Congress (USAOC)
Contamination on the USAOC parcel is due to past Army activities. Current building uses include storing documents. A Record of Decision was signed in 2014 selecting soil removal to address a lead hotspot. The remedial action is expected to be completed in 2015.

Former Nike Missile Control Site
Past investigations and research indicates that past activities and/or operations conducted at this location, in support of the Nike missile program, included microfiche development, operation of a power generator plant, and storage and staging of unidentified compounds in 55-gallon containers. The primary Contaminants of Concern (CoCs) at the Former Nike Missile site include lead in an isolated area near the water tower (presumably from lead based paint) and VOCs in Groundwater. EPA is currently reviewing the Remedial Investigation Report for the Site.

Former Mortar Range
The Mortar Range is a former range located in the west-central portion of the base. This site was first identified on a 1923 Special Military Map for Camp Meade as a 59-acre range. Through an investigation of historical documents (maps etc...), the site was used as a mortar range from the early 1920s until the late 1930s. EPA and the Army signed a Record of Decision for this site in September of 2012. The selected Remedial Action is Land Use Controls. As part of the Land Use Controls, periodic munitions sweeps will take place on an annual basis. 5-Year Reviews will be conducted at this site to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.

Site Description

Fort George G. Meade (FGGM) has been a permanent U.S. Army installation since 1917, and once occupied approximately 13,500 acres of land in northwestern Anne Arundel County, Maryland, along the Little Patuxent and Patuxent Rivers, midway between Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. The community of Odenton, Maryland borders the eastern edge of FGGM. FGGM's current mission is to provide a wide range of support to 114 tenant organizations from all four services, as well as several federal agencies. Major tenants include the National Security Agency, the Defense Information School and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. The population of FGGM includes approximately 8,000 military personnel, 25,000 civilian employees and 5,700 family members of military personnel.

EPA proposed FGGM to the NPL after evaluation of contamination due to past storage and disposal of hazardous substances. Contaminants at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office ('DRMO'), Closed Sanitary Landfill ('CSL'), Clean Fill Dump ('CFD') and Post Laundry Facility ('PLF') included solvents, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls ('PCBs'), heavy metals, waste fuels and waste oils. The NPL site includes all areas of hazardous substance contamination on, and possibly off base if FGGM was the source, and includes the both Base Realignment and Closure Act ('BRAC') and non-BRAC portions of FGGM. The Federal Register public comment period for the FGGM proposed inclusion to the NPL concluded on June 2, 1997, and EPA placed FGGM on the NPL on July 28, 1998. In 1988, BRAC identified 8,848 acres of FGGM for closure: to date, 8,100 BRAC acres have been transferred to the Department of Interior's Patuxent National Research Refuge (PNRR) for use as a wildlife refuge: 7,600 acres in October, 1991, and 500 acres in January, 1993 as part of Defense Appropriation Bills for 1991 and 1992, respectively. Currently there are 2 operable units identified on the DOI property the CFD and the Ordnance Demolition Area (ODA). The CFD ROD was signed in September 2000. Review and comment on the ODA's Proposed Plan and ROD will resume when EPA and the army resolve the DOI NPL listing issue. The Army has retained ownership of the CSL, which encompasses approximately 308 acres of former BRAC property. 366 acres of BRAC property included the former Tipton Airfield transferred to Anne Arundel County for use as a General Aviation Facility.
The contaminants of concern include numerous solvents and heavy metals, explosives, arsenic and PCBs. Elevated levels of volatile organic compounds, pesticides and explosive compounds have been detected in aquifers. Low levels of volatile organic compounds, including tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethlylene, and pesticides have been detected in residential wells located in Odenton, MD.

Based on information available to the EPA, most drinking water sources are not affected by the contamination. In addition, munitions have been found throughout the former range training areas of the base, including portions of the Little Patuxent River.

People who drink water containing PCE and TCE may develop liver problems and have an increased risk of getting cancer. Exposure to PCBs may cause skin rashes, immune system problems, and a potential for increased cancer risk.

The Army has been working to address wastes at the site since 1998 when the Fort Meade installation was designated as a Superfund site. The Federal Facility Agreement ensures that the work proceeds under appropriate EPA oversight.

Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is being addressed under Federal actions.
NPL Listing History
This 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 1, 1997. The site was formally added to the list July 28, 1998.

Threats and Contaminants

Elevated levels of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, metals and explosives compounds have been detected on-post in the Upper and Lower Patapsco aquifers, both of which are used as domestic water sources by residents who live to the east of FGGM. The water supply for FGGM is obtained from wells installed in the deeper Patuxent aquifer. Low levels of tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), carbon tetrachloride (CCL4), other VOCs, and pesticides, have been detected in groundwater wells. PCE has been detected in at least one residential well at levels above the respective federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). TCE and PCE are chlorinated solvents that were typically used in the past for degreasing, parts cleaning and other industrial activities. EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are continuing to investigate potential sources of off-post ground water contamination. VOCs, pesticides, explosive compounds and PCBs have also been detected in the Patuxent River watershed, which includes tributaries to the Patuxent River and associated wetlands. Finally, numerous unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been discovered throughout former range training areas at FGGM, including a portion of the Little Patuxent River.

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

Cleanup Progress

Federal Facilities Agreement

A Federal Facility Agreement was signed by the Army, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior and the Architect of the Capitol in June 2009. This document directs the comprehensive cleanup of the base.

Environmental cleanups at FGGM use a combination of "removal actions," which are intended to quickly reduce immediate threats to human health and the environment posed by contaminants, and "remedial actions," which provide for permanent cleanup of contamination that poses long-term risks to human health and the environment.

In order to more effectively manage investigations and cleanups at FGGM, the Army, MDE, and EPA [the project team] have defined separate Operable Units ('OUs') that include various contaminated sites and areas of potential environmental concern. The project team has developed target schedules for investigations and cleanups at these OUs. As more information becomes available regarding the nature/extent of contamination at FGGM, the project team may create additional OUs and/or revise existing schedules accordingly.

The Army has completed Removal actions (excavation/off-site disposal of drums and surrounding contaminated soil) at the DRMO site, an emergency removal of UXO from a portion of the Little Patuxent River and three UXO surveys, which included removal of detected UXO, throughout the TAA parcel and PNRR. The Army completed Removal actions (UXO clearance activities) on the TAA parcel, with the first ROD signed on December 31, 1998 and the final ROD for this OU in June 1999. Most recently the army completed a UXO sweep of the Little Patuxent River in July 2006.The Army initiated environmental investigations and studies at eighteen sites on the base. The Army is also performing environmental investigations at three non-BRAC sites (ASL, DRMO and PLF). To date, RIs have commenced at over eleven sites, with additional environmental studies planned at both BRAC and non-BRAC areas of potential environmental concern. I large number of site will be undergoing Preliminary Assessments over the next few years. Several additional removal actions, RODs, and Remedial actions are planned within the next few years. The Army transferred the entire Tipton parcel to the County. In order to satisfy the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ('RCRA'), the Army identified 150 Solid Waste Management Units ('SWMUs') and Areas of Concern ('AOCs').

The Department of Defense ('DoD') has been delegated the authority to conduct investigations and cleanups under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended ('CERCLA'), commonly known as "Superfund." The Army is the "lead agency" responsible for the FGGM investigations and cleanups with oversight by EPA and MDE. FGGM environmental investigations and cleanups are funded by the DoD Installation Restoration Program ('IRP') and Defense Environmental Restoration Account ('DERA') and BRAC funding. In addition to CERCLA requirements, FGGM is also subject to RCRA Corrective Action requirements. EPA is responsible for ensuring that the Army also addresses all RCRA SWMUs and AOCs at FGGM, which involves contaminants similar (or identical) to those addressed under CERCLA. These response actions, in addition to cleanups already completed, will continue to reduce the threat of exposure to contaminants at FGGM.


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