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Woodbridge Research Facility

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Prince William County

EPA ID# VA7210020981

8th Congressional District

Last Update: December 2009

Other Names

Harry Diamond Lab

Current Site Status

The former dump area of this site has been excavated, backfilled and permanent covers have been installed. The principle contaminants of concern at this site are PCBs, and to a lesser extent; pesticides, PAHs, and petroleum related substances. At the main ditch area excavation, restoration and revegetation is complete. All on-site construction work was completed as of August 18, 2000, and the site is in the long-term monitoring stage. A five-year review was completed during September of 2003 and it found that the remedies remain protective of human health and the environment. Periodic long term monitoring is being performed, and a second five-year review was recently completed and again found that the remedies remain protective. Also, a SLERA (Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment) is being planned to evaluate a portion of the AREE 1 wetlands area where PCB concentrations have been found to slightly exceed the 1.0 ppm wetland cleanup criteria.

Site Description

The WRF is located on approximately 579 acres of land in the easternmost portion of Prince William County, Virginia, within the town of Woodbridge. The Occoquan and Belmont Bays border the WRF on the south and east, respectively. The Marumsco National Wildlife Refuge bounds the facility on the west side. A golf course was recently completed adjacent to the northern boundary of the WRF. The entrance to the WRF is located on Dawson Beach Road, which extends to the southeast from U.S. Route 1 in Woodbridge.

From 1951 until 1971, the site was active as a military radio station. Environmentally significant activities at the site included construction and demolition, PCB transformer and capacitor utilization, POL use and storage, open dumping, battery use and storage, classified document incineration, machine shop operations, buried wire, and buried ethylene glycol hoses.

From 1971 until closure in September, 1994, the primary mission of the WRF was to support the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphia, MD. Scientists, engineers, and technical and administrative personnel were employed at the WRF in a variety of programs involving nuclear weapons effects and Army system survivability. The facility investigated and studied the effects of electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated by exo-atmospheric nuclear weapons detonation on communications and other military systems. Testing activities involved simulations utilizing on-site electromagnetic pulsers. Environmentally significant activities during this period included construction and demolition, PCB transformer and capacitor utilization and disposal, POL use and storage, open dumping, small arms ranges, battery shop, sewage sludge injection, machine shop operations and electromagnetic pulse generation.

Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed through federal actions as a 1991 Base Closure facility. Transfer from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service occurred in 1998.
NPL Listing History
This site is not on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

The principle contaminants of concern at this site are PCBs, and to a lesser extent; pesticides, PAHs, and petroleum related substances. Various aroclors of PCBs have been found at multiple locations on-site, generally in soil samples and sediments. These PCBs are a cause for concern because they are bioaccumulative and have the potential to disrupt food chains. This fact is significant because the WRF has been transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for incorporation into the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The other contaminants referred to above have been evaluated during the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) and found to be at relatively low levels and not a significant threat to human health or the environment. No remedial action is planned for these substances. Only isolated instances of groundwater contamination were detected during the RI/FS and no remedial action for groundwater is necessary.

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

Cleanup Progress

Immediate environmental threats have been removed from the WRF on three separate occasions. In the mid 1980s, an excavation was carried out which resulted in a number of PCB-contaminated transformers and capacitors being exhumed and disposed of off-site. In 1995, a PCB Hot Spot Removal Action was carried out in the vicinity of Building 202. PCB-contaminated soil and some liquids were excavated and removed from the site. Also, a Regulatory Compliance-related removal action was carried out in 1997 and this resulted in the removal of the ethylene glycol hoses along with other items. Also in 1997, two Decision Documents were developed which provide remedial actions for OU-3 (Main Drainage Ditch) and OU-1 (Former Dumps). A design/construction contract for this work was signed and field activity began in 1998. All remedial construction is now complete and the sites have been covered and revegetated. A long-term monitoring program is in place and fourteen rounds of samples have been collected/analyzed and these data will be used to develop baselines for future comparison purposes and help support the conclusions of the five year review reports.


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