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West Virginia Ordnance
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)
EPA ID# WVD980713036
2nd Congressional District
Last Update: January 2013
Current Site Status
The West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) NPL site is divided into 13 distinct investigative areas, or Operable Units (OUs). EPA works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the lead Agency for cleanup work at the WVOW NPL site.
Much of the initial construction work at the WVOW Site has been completed. Soil caps were installed at some locations and former surface impoundments were covered with liners. A groundwater pump and treat system is in operation and at present, it is treating contaminated groundwater from three different locations on-site. A comprehensive long term monitoring(LTM) system is in place and samples are collected from numerous locations around the site, as well as from perimeter sentry wells. Sampling is conducted on an annual basis, and the LTM program has been in effect for nearly 15 years. The WVOW Tier 1 Partnering Team meets regularly and presently they are focused on further LTM, monitor well abandonment in some areas, groundwater treatability studies, and remedy selection for the Southeast Manufacturing Area.
Site DescriptionThe WVOW site is located near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It is a 8,320-acre site used by the Department of Defense from 1942 to 1945 to produce TNT (trinitrotoluene). Soils around the operation's industrial area, process facilities, and industrial wastewater disposal system were contaminated with TNT, its by-products, and asbestos. When the site was decontaminated and decommissioned in 1945, the U.S. Government deeded the industrial portion to the State of West Virginia, stipulating that it be used for wildlife management. The state created the McClintic State Wildlife Management Area on this 2,785 acre parcel, and the area is now used for recreational hunting purposes. Other non-industrial portions of the original parcel are owned by Mason County or by private citizens. In 1981, Red Water seepage (liquid waste produced during the TNT manufacturing process) was observed near Pond 13 on the wildlife station. EPA and state investigations revealed that the groundwater and surface water were contaminated with TNT, and its by-products 2,4-DNT and 2,6-DNT. Buried wastewater lines associated with TNT manufacturing also contained crystalline TNT.
- Site Responsibility
- This site is being addressed through Federal actions. The Department of Defense (DOD) has been identified as a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) at the WVOW site, and the Corps of Engineers is acting as the DOD's representative. Sites for which the DOD has been identified as a PRP are being addressed under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program as administered by the USACE-Huntington District.
- NPL Listing History
- Proposed Date: 10/30/81
Final Date: 09/08/83
Threats and ContaminantsGroundwater, groundwater seepage, soils, and surface water on-site are contaminated with explosive nitroaromatic compounds including TNT, trinitrobenzene, and dinitrotoluene from former site operations, as well as metals, including arsenic, lead and beryllium. Visitors to the wildlife management area may be exposed to contaminants by direct contact with or accidental ingestion of contaminated surface water or soils. The shallow groundwater has been shown to be contaminated and is moving toward private residences. No nitroaromatics have been detected in any of the 13 local water supply wells, but sewer lines, pits, and open manholes may contain reactive wastes, which may pose a safety and chemical hazard to people entering the site.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
The selected Remedial Actions (RAs) for OUs 1 and 2 were implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the PRP for this site. The remedies selected to address the source of contamination are: (1) in-place flaming of reactive TNT residue on soil surfaces and installation of a 2-foot soil cover over highly contaminated areas; (2) disposal of asbestos off-site; and (3) excavation of reactive sewer lines, flashing of explosives, and backfilling of trenches from which lines are removed. These site cleanup activities are now complete. After completing these cleanup activities, the Army conducted an investigation and determined that damages occurred to natural resources (wetlands) during cleanup. As a result, replacement wetlands have been constructed on a portion of the Site.
In 1991, cleanup activities began at the Red Water and Yellow Water Reservoir. Remedies include relocating Ponds 1 and 2, filling and capping the original Ponds 1 and 2, and extracting and treating the groundwater. The groundwater pump and treat system is installed and operational. The final inspection was completed February of 1997.
The remedies originally selected to treat the Pond 13 wet well contamination have been determined to be technically impracticable. Subsequent investigations have determined that the contamination in this area is localized in discrete areas and remediation is being planned as a removal action. That work is complete and an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) was prepared to adjust part of the original OU-2 ROD to these new circumstances. Groundwater extraction and treatment is ongoing in the Pond 13 Area.
A ROD for OU-11 (Sellite Manufacturing Area) was completed during 2000. The risk assessment for OU-11 determined the risk to be within the acceptable EPA risk range, which resulted in a "No Action" ROD. The ROD for OU-12 (North and South Power houses) was completed and signed during 2002. Additionally, the Point Pleasant Landfill has been identified as OU-7 by EPA, and is being considered for a remedial investigation. EPA worked with the Corps and the WV DEP to prepare a Proposed Plan/ROD for OU-10, the South Acids Area. This ROD was completed and signed on September 29, 2003.
Additional early actions that have been completed at the site include: (1) removal of drums, soil, and debris from the "Toxic Swamp" area completed in 1994; (2) removal of asbestos from the North and South Power Houses; (3) demolition of the Power Houses, and filling in of open pits and manholes completed in January of 1995; and (4) removal of 32 drums from the OU-11 Sellite Mfg. Area in 1999. Recently, Decision Documents were completed which indicated no further investigation or remedial actions will be necessary at five sites, including the Tract 21 Area, Refueling Depot, Sewage Treatment Plant outfall, Classification Yards, and the Washout Area. A partial deletion action was completed in 2002 which removed these areas, along with the OU-11 and OU-12 areas, from the WVOW NPL Site boundary. Following that, four more decision documents were completed for the Magazine Area, Red Water Outfall Sewer line, Motor pool/Maintenance area, and the Former Sewage Treatment plant. These four areas, along with the South Acids Area (OU-10), were deleted from the NPL site boundary on April 26, 2004.
Main Switch House, Electric Meter House, Sanitary Sewer Line, and Concrete Pit: Asbestos abatement from the demolition of the Main Switch House was performed in January 2005, with all debris disposed off-site. A no further action Decision Document for these four areas was signed June 30, 2005.
In 2006/7, the WVOW Cleanup Team had focused their efforts on the Southeast Area of the site, where a Feasibility Study is being completed to address contaminated groundwater and soil in the former TNT Manufacturing Area. In addition, other areas of focus include the former Industrial Waste Sewer Line and sediment in the Red Water Reservoir retention pond. A Long Term Monitoring Program is in effect at this site and samples are collected and analyzed on an annual basis. In late 2010, a series of pilot tests were begun in the TNT Manufacturing Area to evaluate in-situ treatment of groundwater contamination. These involve sub-surface injections and subsequent sampling of contaminate levels and will last approximately two years. The first round of injections and sampling has been completed.
Recently, EPA collected sampling data at the Point Pleasant Landfill which is designated OU-7 at WVOW. The samples are analyzed and a Report has been prepared to guide the Project Managers in selecting a path forward for action at this former landfill.
A Five Year Review document has been completed by the Army.
The Army and EPA continue to engage in informal dispute resolution regarding remedial action objectives for the groundwater in the TNT Manufacturing area.