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Philadelphia Naval Complex
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)
EPA ID# PA4170022418
1st Congressional District
Last Update: May 2003
Current Site Status
All Navy response actions required to support the transfer and reuse of the former Naval Complex have been implemented. As a Base Realignment and Closure (‘BRAC’) site, it has been transferred to the city of Philadelphia as part of the largest BRAC redevelopment project in Region III, which included the $430 million Kvaerner Shipyard transfer in early 2000. Kvaerner, a European shipbuilding company, developed 100 acres of the former Naval shipyard as a modern shipbuilding facility and employs 1,000 workers. With the Philadelphia Naval Complex no longer a restricted access facility, the city of Philadelphia’s redevelopment authority hopes to attract more industry and commercial operations to the site. In March 2000, the Navy signed a purchase agreement with the City of Philadelphia to complete the transfer of 1,455 acres. The property will be used for local industrial and commercial development.
The Philadelphia Naval Complex is located 4 miles south of center city Philadelphia on 1,455 acres, with 348 acres the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the remainder the Philadelphia Naval Base. The facility is bounded by the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and the City of Philadelphia. Surrounding land use is largely industrial with residential city areas within one mile to the north. The site was designated for closure under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990. BRAC II (1991) resulted in the closure of the Philadelphia Naval Base, and BRAC IV (1995) recommended closure of the Shipyard except for a few remaining support facilities. Land at the site was initially purchased for a shipyard in Philadelphia in 1801. Historically, up to 25,000 workers were employed for peak production during WWII.
- Site Responsibility
- This site is being addressed through Federal actions.
- NPL Listing History
- Not proposed for NPL.
Threats and Contaminants
The majority of buildings at the complex were constructed for industrial use, either research and development or shipbuilding activities. Some typical uses at the shipyard included the power plant, the foundry, the paint shop and the electroplating plant. Various hazardous organic and inorganic chemicals were stored and used in these operations. Environmental assessment and cleanup began in 1991 to prepare the property for transfer or lease. The work focused on asbestos abatement in buildings, PCB transformer site remediation, removal of underground storage tanks and resulting contaminated soil, and removal and off-site disposal of construction debris and blasting grit. A groundwater monitoring program was implemented but no groundwater remediation is planned due to the industrial nature of the site. Groundwater use restrictions were put in place and all potable water at the complex is supplied by the City of Philadelphia.
Cleanup required to support the transfer and reuse of the former base is complete. Asbestos abatement was completed at Naval Hospital buildings and several buildings at the Naval Base. Various PCB transformer sites have been remediated and cleanup is ongoing at additional sites. Several underground and aboveground storage tanks have been removed or closed including removal of underground storage tanks and contaminated soil at the naval exchange gas station. In some areas, leaks were identified and follow-up investigations or cleanups completed.
Removal and off-site disposal of approximately 6,000 tons of debris, blasing grit, and other surface material from at the east end of the Naval base was completed. Soil and groundwater investigations have been completed in the 57 acre area and the Navy signed a Decision Document in August, 1998 to close out the site as no further action.
A Finding of Suitability to Transfer (FOST) was signed for the Naval Hospital in July, 1998, a FOST was signed for the 1,100 acre naval station property (exclusive of the shipyard and Girard Point Area) in August, 1998, and a FOST was signed for the Naval Shipyard property in December, 1998.
The Girard Point Management Area was previously used for transfer, incineration, and landfilling of shipyard solid waste. A Decision Document was signed requiring a cap on the landfill and long-term groundwater monitoring. Construction of the cap and a river bank stabilization project were recently completed.
To date the largest redevelopment project has been the $430 million Kvaerner shipyard completed in early 2000. Kvaerner, a European shipbuilding company , developed 100 acres of the shipyard as a modern shipbuilding facility and employs 1,000 workers. With the Philadelphia Base no longer a restricted access Naval facility, the City’s redevelopment authority hopes to attract more industry and commercial operations to the site.