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Naval Air Development Center Warminster

Current Site Information

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Bucks County

EPA ID# PA6170024545

8th Congressional District

Last Update: January, 2013

Other Names

Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Warminster

Current Site Status

The U.S. Navy has completed all cleanup activities at the site. In addition, groundwater remedies, which include pumping and treatment of groundwater in three areas, have been demonstrated by the Navy to be operating properly and successfully. The completion of all of this work has cleared the entire base for transfer to the private sector per the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

Site Description

The Naval Air Development Center site, which covers 840 acres and is located in Warminster Township and Ivyland Borough, Bucks County, PA, was renamed Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) in 1993. Commissioned in 1944, NAWC's main function was the research, development and testing of Naval aircraft systems. Wastes were generated during aircraft maintenance and repair, pest control, firefighting training, machine and plating shop operations, spray painting, and various materials research and testing activities in laboratories. These wastes include paints, solvents, sludges from industrial wastewater treatment, and waste oils. Pursuant to BRAC, NAWC ceased operations in September 1996. Most of the property has been transfered to the private sector. NAWC is located in a populated suburban area and is surrounded by homes, commercial and industrial activities and a golf course. NAWC was placed on the CERCLA NPL due to the threat posed by eight disposal areas to groundwater quality. The primary groundwater contaminants of concern at NAWC have been found to be trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and carbon tetrachloride. The area surrounding NAWC is completely dependent on groundwater for both public and private water supplies.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through Federal actions.

NPL Listing History

Proposed Date: 06/10/86
Final Date: 10/04/89

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater both on-site and off-site is contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including TCE, PCE, and carbon tetrachloride. Investigations to determine the nature and extent of groundwater and soil contamination have been completed. Impacted residential and commercial drinking water supplies have been addressed through response actions. Drinking or showering with untreated contaminated groundwater could pose a health risk. Soil at certain locations could present a threat to human health via direct contact pathways and sediments in stream draining the base have been impacted. In each case, heavy metals are the contaminants of concern.

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

Cleanup Progress

All remedial construction is complete. All remedies for contaminated soil are in place. Remedies for contaminated groundwater are operating properly and successfully.

In response to TCE and PCE contamination detected in off-base private wells adjacent to NAWC, in 1993, the Navy installed water treatment systems in over 40 homes and subsequently connected over 20 homes to public water systems. Since sampling results suggested that the contamination was due to both NAWC and an unknown off-base source, the EPA connected an additional 40 residences to a public water system in 1994. In 1995, a commercial facility was also connected to public water by the Navy. In 1996, the construction of an on-base groundwater treatment system was completed and the pumping and treatment of PCE-contaminated groundwater at Area C at NAWC was initiated. The construction of groundwater extraction wells in Areas A and D at NAWC was initiated in late 1998 and early 1999, respectively. Pumping and treatment of contaminated groundwater in Area A was initiated in Summer 1999. The primary contaminants at Area A are TCE, carbon tetrachloride and PCE; at Area D, the contaminant is TCE.

Soil/Waste: In 1996, a removal action at Site 4 excavated and removed waste from a series eight disposal trenches. The primary contaminants in the waste were polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In 1997, a removal action was conducted at Sites 6 and 7, a series of disposal trenches and pits. Contaminants in soil/waste excavated and removed from Sites 6/7 included TCE, PCE, and PCBs. In 1998, soil contaminated with cadmium, lead and other heavy metals was excavated and removed as part of a removal action at Sites 1 and 2. In 1999, soil contaminated with lead was removed from Site 8. Access to remaining soils of concern at Sites 1, 2, 6 and 7 will be controlled through deed restrictions. Erosion controls are in place at Site 2 and a clean, vegetated soil cover in place at Sites 6 and 7. Monitoring of stream sediment is ongoing.

The Navy has completed its second five-year review. EPA policy towards potential risk from vapor intrusion has changed since the last five year review and it is anticipated that the Navy will complete additional sampling to insure that all remedies in place are protective of human health and the environment.


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