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USN NRTF - Driver

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Suffolk County

EPA ID# VA9170022488

4th Congressional District

Last Update: May 2003
No future updates

Other Names

Suffolk Naval Communication Area Master Station,
Naval Radio Transmitter Facility - Driver

Current Site Status

All required Navy response actions for Navy Radio Transmitter Facility-Driver (NRTF-Driver, or Suffolk Naval Communication Area Master Station) have been implemented. As a Base Closure ('BRAC') site was to be transferred in whole or part to the City of Suffolk, or local universities, for public park, municipal or educational uses, according BRAC procedures. The Department of Interior ('DoI') was to receive some of the site to expand the adjacent wildlife refuge.

Site Description

The NRTF-Driver consisted of 597 acres in the Driver community of the City of Suffolk, Virginia. NRTF-Driver was established on land first purchased in 1941 and used as a Naval air field, Monogram Field. NRTF-Driver subsequently operated as a high- and low-frequency radio transmitting facility for the U. S. Naval Atlantic Fleet and included various transmitting towers and support facilities. Operations that ceased at the facility in 1994 included maintenance of buildings, grounds, transformers, vehicles, housing units, and pest control, and generated domestic refuse, solvents, paints, and oils, including oils that contained polychlorinated biphenyls ('PCBs'). A significant portion of the base was not contaminated by past practices, with contaminated areas being where disposal, PCB spills, and storage occurred. In 1984, the Navy completed a Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection ('PA/SI') of eight areas of potential environmental concern. In 1993, the Navy executed three separate actions: (1) Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study ('RI/FS') for three sites; (2) a PCB Removal Action at Site 5; and (3) an environmental baseline survey. The sites that underwent RI/FS were: Site 1 - Oyster House Creek Landfill - Chlorinated hydrocarbons impacted the soil, surface water and ground waters: use restrictions and monitoring were selected as the remedy. Site 5 - PCBs/Wetlands - PCBs impacted the soil, sediments, biota, surface water and ground waters: Excavation of the wetlands was completed with monitoring ongoing. Site 8 - Service Station - Petroleum products were released to the soil, surface water and ground waters: These were cleaned up under the Virginia Underground Storage Tank program. In 1994, the Navy demolished housing units; abated asbestos hazards; sampled transformers, storage tanks and numerous areas of concern; and removed radio towers and site-related debris; as well as initiating a PA/SI for a total of seven additional sites. In 1995, an environmental baseline survey ('EBS') was completed which identified three more sites, six areas of concern, and three potential areas of concern, none of which then required further action. All storage tanks were removed.

NRTF-Driver is located on the east bank of the Nansemond River and drains to the estuarine Star Creek, Oyster House Creek, Nansemond River, and then the James River and the Chesapeake Bay. Low-lying wetlands and areas of salt marsh are along the western and southern boundaries, abut the Nansemond National Wildlife Refuge, and are subject to wetlands regulations.

The aquifers underlying NRTF-Driver are: the Lower, Middle and Upper Potomac, Aquia, Chickahominy-Piney Point, Yorktown-Eastover, and Columbia. The last of these ranges from zero to ten feet below the surface. Two emergency municipal deep wells were situated on NRTF-Driver belonging to the City of Suffolk. They are tested regularly and were never been used. The population of the city of Suffolk was approximately 53,000 (1991). The Chesapeake Bay indirectly receives surface run-off to the Nansemond River and its tributaries.

Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed by Federal Actions, as a 1993 Base Closure facility.
NPL Listing History
The site is not listed on the NPL.

Threats and Contaminants

Originally, PCBs, pesticides, metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons and petroleum hydrocarbons were identified in soils. Metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons and petroleum products were identified in ground water. Low levels of PCBs were detected in the surface water and fish are contaminated with low levels of PCBs. Sediments were contaminated with low levels of PCBs.

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


Cleanup Progress

The site was addressed by completing past remedial studies/decisions/actions; conducting a complete, base-wide environmental baseline survey; removing structures, transmitting towers, storage tanks, asbestos, and debris; screening any new or potential areas of concern; and initiating PA/SIs or removals as agreed upon in close coordination between the Navy, state and EPA.

The Navy initiated early cleanup action with the removal of PCB transformers, PCB contamination from Site 5, petroleum contamination and USTs from Site 8, abandoned structures, transmitting towers, storage tanks, asbestos, and debris; and by establishing a Base Closure Cleanup Team with the state and EPA; conducting a complete, base-wide environmental baseline survey focused on property transfer; screening new or potential areas of concern; sampling of transformers, storage tanks and areas of concern; and initiating PA/SIs; as well as completing asbestos abatement and clean-up of hazardous materials formerly used at the facility.

The Navy has implemented all required response actions. NRTF-Driver was included on the original Federal Facilities Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket, dated February 12, 1988, and ceased operations in July 1994. NRTF-Driver participated in the Navy Installation Restoration Program and was funded by the Department of Defense through its Base Closure Account. A Restoration Advisory Board ('RAB') was formed for members of the public to meet regularly and provide input to the Navy during the study and decision-making phases of the closure and cleanup program.

The Navy studied this site for cleanup beginning in 1989, and the only tasks that remain are continued monitoring. The Navy has completed all required remedial studies/decisions/actions, including the removal of PCB transformers, PCB contamination from Site 5, and petroleum contamination and USTs from Site 8; has completed a base-wide environmental baseline survey, asbestos abatement, clean-up of hazardous materials in use, and the removal of abandoned structures, transmitting towers, storage tanks, and debris; sampling of transformers and additional storage tanks, areas of concern, or potential areas of concern. The BCT and RAB were disbanded in 1997.


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