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USA Cameron Station

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Alexandria County

EPA ID# VA4210220139

8th Congressional District

Last Update: May 2003
No future updates

Other Names


Current Site Status

All required Army response actions for the former USA Cameron Station have been implemented. As a Base Closure ('BRAC') site, it has been transferred in part to the city of Alexandria for park uses, with the remainder sold to a private developer, where residential construction is ongoing. The Army continues to operate a pump and treat system to address one discrete area of groundwater contamination.

Site Description

The former Army Cameron Station consisted of 164 acres within the City of Alexandria, Virginia. Cameron Station was a sub-installation of the Fort Myer Military Community in Arlington, Virginia. Cameron Station was used as a general depot on land first purchased in 1941. Cameron Station provided administrative, commissary and post exchange support, as well as vehicle washing and maintenance shops, a steam plant and grounds maintenance. Cameron Station also served as the Headquarters location for the Defense Logistics Agency, as well as host to other smaller tenant activities including print shops and photographic laboratories. Cameron Station ceased its mission on September 30, 1995. 101 acres of Cameron Station were sold to a private developer in December 1996. The remaining 63 acres were transferred to the City of Alexandria Parks Department. In 1983, the Army completed its Preliminary Assessment of numerous areas of potential environmental concern at Cameron Station and in 1989 continued with an enhanced assessment and the Remedial Investigation studies. Operable Unit 1 - Polychlorinated Biphenyls ('PCBs') - PCBs impacting the soil, surface water and ground waters. Operable Unit 3 - Landfill area - Metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons impacting the soil, surface water and ground waters. Operable Unit 4 - Pesticides - Pesticides impacting the soil, surface water and ground waters. Operable Unit 5 - Trichloroethylene ('TCE') plume - TCE and chlorinated hydrocarbons impacting the surface water and ground waters. Operable Unit 6 - Acid pits - Lead and petroleum hydrocarbons impacting the soil, surface water and ground waters. Operable Unit 7 - Asbestos - Asbestos in buildings requiring abatement. Lead-based paint in buildings was removed from consideration. Operable Unit 8 - Post Exchange ('PX') service station, Bldg 2 Underground Storage Tanks ('USTs') - Petroleum products impacting the soil, surface water and ground waters. In addition, the following units had no further action planned: Off-site plume - Benzene and trichloroethane are migrating in the ground water under Cameron Station from an off-site source. No further action planned by the Army. Operable Unit 2 - Cameron Lake burn pits, dredge spoils - No further action. Operable Unit 9 - Road oiling and fly ash disposal - No further action. Operable Unit 10 - Surface water - No further action. Operable Unit 11 - Pigeon roosting - No further action planned in Bldg. 21. Operable Unit 12 - Other USTs - No remedial action planned. All USTs were removed as operations ceased. PCBs were detected and cleaned up during the removal of (3) USTs at Building 68 (small former fuel dispensing area) requiring cleanup action. Cameron Station is bordered on two sides by Holmes Run and Backlick Run which converge to form Cameron Run. Removal of flow restrictions along these streams during redevelopment removed Cameron Station from the 100-year flood plain. The single shallow aquifer underlying Cameron Station is associated with the Piedmont and Coastal Plain ground water systems. It ranges from 10 to 20 feet below the surface, is not currently used as a drinking water source, and is deed restricted on-site. Municipal and private wells are prohibited by city policy. The site originally contained wetlands areas but was filled by the Army from 4 to 6 feet, and by the developer up to 14 additional feet. Wetlands are restricted by steep slopes to correspond with the stream banks. Cameron Lake was classified as a wetland, but the Army Corps of Engineers subsequently waived any permitting requirements. Cameron Lake is now used by the City as a stormwater management feature. Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas occur at Cameron Station and include a 100-foot buffer area along the surface water features. The population of the city of Alexandria was approximately 113,000 (1991). There is no Army presence remaining on the former base. No NPDES (water discharge) point sources or RCRA permitted facilities were present at the site. NPDES permits were issued for remedial treatment systems. Cameron Station operated as a RCRA small quantity generator. All USTs, above ground storage tanks and PCB transformers have been addressed.

Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed by federal actions, as a 1988 Base Closure facility.
NPL Listing History
The site is not listed on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

One discrete area of groundwater contamination remains at the former USA Cameron Station where the Army continues to operate a pump and treat system. All other threats have been addressed as required by Army response actions. Originally, PCBs, pesticides, low levels of dioxin, lead and petroleum hydrocarbons were detected in the soil. TCE, metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons and petroleum products were detected in the groundwater. And low levels of TCE were detected in the surface water. Fish were contaminated with low levels of PCB. Sediments were contaminated with low levels of petroleum hydrocarbons and poly aromatic hydrocarbons. People were at risk by accidentally ingesting or coming in contact with contaminated ground water, surface water, soils, sediments or fish. The Potomac River indirectly receives run-off from direct surface run-off to Backlick Run and Cameron Lake. Dioxin, pesticides and waste oils were detected in the surface soils that run-off to Backlick Run and Cameron Lake.

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


Cleanup Progress

The Army actively studied this site for cleanup beginning in 1989. Cleanups included: (1) remediation of PCBs, pesticides, the TCE plume and acid pits, as well as ongoing cleanup of petroleum products released from the PX service station and Building 2 USTs and planned monitoring of the landfill, TCE plume and petroleum plumes according to a signed Army Decision Document. (2) Abatement of asbestos, and assumed presence of lead-based paint in buildings. (3) Deed restrictions for those areas where hazardous substances or treatment systems remain in place. (4) UST removals as operations ceased. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality required no active remediation on the Army property related to the off-site release from regulated USTs at an adjacent property. The Army initiated early cleanup action with the removal of leaking USTs and PCB transformers, excavation and treatment of petroleum products released from the PX service station, clean-out of the storm sewer traps and ongoing asbestos abatement to remove or control potential sources of contamination. In addition, the Army halted all disposal of hazardous materials into any sewers and imposed a fishing ban in Cameron Lake.

The Army implemented all remedial actions, demonstrated that the TCE pump-and-treat system was in place and operating successfully, and transferred the site in 1996. Operation and maintenance of the petroleum and TCE soil vapor extraction/pump-and-treat systems, as well as monitoring these and the landfill remains the responsibility of the Army. The Army also committed to publish annual status summary fact sheets.

Cameron Station is being converted to residential, commercial and public park uses. The Army sold the property in 1996 except for approximately 63 acres of park areas transferred through the U.S. Department of Interior to the city of Alexandria. Cameron Station cleanup was funded by the Department of Defense through its BRAC account. A BRAC Clean-up Team (‘BCT’) was formed with members from the Army, EPA Region III and the State of Virginia. A Restoration Advisory Board (‘RAB’) was also formed in 1994 including twelve (16) citizen members, and disbanded in January 1996. In 1993, the Army conducted an environmental baseline survey (‘EBS’) to support the clean parcel determination that was required before April 19, 1994. Twelve (12) clean parcel determinations were proposed by the Army. Virginia concurred with the Army clean parcel determinations with reservations. All remedies were completed or in place and operating by May 1996. The Army signed a finding of suitability to transfer (‘FOST’) required prior to the planned transfer of the parcels in November 1996. The developer is currently constructing private dwellings on the property and a significant number of people reside there.


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