Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
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- Cleanup Status:
Corrective Action Underway
- Human Exposure Controls: TBA
- Groundwater Controls: TBA
In early 2014, EPA completed a review of the documents submitted by NRL and selected the SWMUs and AOCs that needed further action. The EPA expects a meeting with NRL in FY2015 to discuss the schedule that will be implemented to address the need of additional characterization of contaminants in soil, sediments, and groundwater.
Environmental information is being gathered to confirm the status of the environmental indicators and the need for further investigation.
The NRL Facility was established in 1923 by the Department of the Navy. The Facility is the key research facility operated by the Department of the Navy Office of Naval Research to address science and technology responsibilities. The Facility now comprises 131 acres and consists of 87 numbered buildings and structures. Most of the buildings are used for research. Manufacturing is not conducted on site. A portion of the property formerly was owned and operated as an Annex to the Naval Gun Factory. The Annex was used to store materials/munitions associated with the Washington Navy Yard.
The Facility is located on approximately 131 acres on the eastern bank of the Potomac River, in Southwest Washington, D.C, between Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Facility to the south, and Bolling Air Force Base and the Belleview residential development to the north. A portion of the Facility was ceded to the adjacent Blue Plains Waste Water Treatment Facility in 1947. Portions of a former landfill at the southwest tip of Bolling Air Force Base reportedly where shared with NRL.
NRL reports that there is no known historic or current association between the NRL Facility and the Bellevue residential development.
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) agreed to participate in the EPA Region III’s Facility Lead Corrective Action program on August 19, 2003. A description of the Facility Lead Agreement program is available on the EPA Region III Corrective Action Web Site. <
Corrective action investigations at the Facility primarily have been conducted by the NRL Facility Lead Corrective Action (FLCA) Program. Additional investigations have been conducted by the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP).
In April 2007, NRL submitted a summary of their evaluation of 62 solid waste management units (SWMU) and 67 areas of concern (AOC) along with four (4) investigation reports. Of the 67 AOCs, NRL indicated that the following six (6) AOCs were associated with the MMRP: Bomb Testing Butt, Original Explosion Pit, Fire Pit, Pistol Range, Relocated Explosion Pit, and Incinerator. Concurrently, NRL submitted an evaluation of the Environmental Indicator (EI) addressing Current Human Exposures Under Control which stated that, with the exception of the potential for vapor intrusion, all other human exposures are likely under control. In August 2007, NRL submitted an evaluation of whether Contaminant Migration in Groundwater is under control. The evaluation determined additional investigations should be completed.
In late April 2008, NRL submitted a Facility Assessment Workplan. The Workplan addressed the investigation of hydrologic conditions throughout the Facility, fill along the Facility’s western border, and soil and other materials at twelve (12) Facility locations.
In early 2009, NRL submitted to EPA a Facility Assessment Report addressing the results of the investigations. In late 2009, following consult with EPA, NRL initiated investigation of the potential for vapor intrusion.
In 2010, EPA designated the District of Columbia Department of the Environment (DDOE) as the EPA Project Manager. In early 2011, DDOE provided EPA with an electronic copy of the September 2010 Site Inspection Report addressing five (5) MMRP Sites. Of the six (6) initial MMRP AOCs, an inspection of the incinerator was determined not to be necessary. In November of 2011, Project Management lead was returned to EPA.
In early 2012, NRL transmitted to EPA a description of the corrective action evaluation status, an update to the environmental indicators, a hard copy of the MMRP report, documents associated with evaluation of radioactive materials formerly used in research at the Facility, and a response to EPA’s comments on the Facility Assessment Report. These documents are under review by EPA.
In 1972, the location where five (5) gallon metal containers containing liquid cyanide were reported to be buried was excavated. It is not clear whether the containers were located and/or removed. (SWMU 16, Cyanide Burial Area)
Between 1986 and 1989, 48 truckloads of soil and debris containing polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) were removed from SWMU 31, Bldg 49 Material Salvage Yard, and appropriately disposed.
In December 1987, salvage drums containing PCB contaminated soils were removed (SWMU 22, Drum Salvage Area).
In December 1988, 20-30 gallons of oil containing PCBs that leaked to a floor of a building were removed (SWMU 21, Bldg 150 Oily Waste Shed).
In 1989, an approximately 300 gallon spill of non-PCB transformer oil was cleaned up (AOC S, Bldg 71 Oil Spill Area).
In 1991, PCB contaminated soil was excavated 2 feet beyond the perimeter of an oil stain to a depth of 2 feet (SWMU 36, Elephant Cage).
In 1992, single walled petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs) along with 400 to 600 cubic yards of petroleum impacted soil was removed (SWMU 26 Bldg 36 Fuel USTs, SWMU 27, Bdg. 36 Used Oil UST, SWMU 29, Bldg, 36 Used Oil Area, SWMU 30 Bldg 36 Used Oil/Water Separator).
In 1993, a waste oil tank and surrounding soil was excavated and removed. An additional 24.7 tons of associated impacted soil was removed in 1994 (SWMU 4, Bldg 2A Former Oil House).
In 2004, three 55-gallon drums of diesel fuel impacted soil were removed. In 2006, Interim Measures were conducted to remove nine (9) cubic yards of petroleum impacted soils and to install two monitoring wells (AOC Y, Bldg 53 Oil Spill).
Other miscellaneous spills released to contained and uncontained areas have been cleaned up. (Refer to April 2007 Summary of Solid Waste Management Units and Areas of Concern).
Investigations at the NRL Facility have been conducted by the NRL and by the MMRP. Investigations conducted by the NRL identified the following contaminants:
- PCBs in concrete;
- Metals, semivolatile organic constituents (commonly referred to as "SVOCs"), and PCBs in soil; and
- Volatile organic constituents (commonly referred to as "VOCs") in groundwater, soil and air.
NRL conducted an evaluation of risk associated with contaminants at locations not associated with the MMRP. NRL determined there is no current unacceptable exposure associated with identified contaminants at those locations.
NRL has a public website that provides to the community and the general public information about research conducted at the Laboratory. In addition, the Environmental Section of NRL's Research and Development Services Division (RDSD) meets with the local community to provide updated information on environmental, cultural, and natural resource programs.
- Some of the site’s key documents of available upon request are:
- Documents and reports regarding this facility can be reviewed in person the following location:
U.S. EPA Region III
Land & Chemicals Division - RCRA
1650 Arch Street-11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call for an appointment.
- Submit a FOIA Request
Get instructions on how to submit a FOIA request. Additional fee for requests over 100 pages.
General Corrective Action:
1984: NRL Initial Assessment Study - prepared by Fred C. Hart Associates
1995: EPA RCRA Facility Assessment
2007: NRL Summary of SWMUs/AOCs, prepared by CH2MHill for NAVFAC
2007: Summary of the Potential for Vapor Intrusion Bldgs. 32, 36, and 49
2008: Facility Assessment Report
2011: Phase II Facility Assessment Report
2006: Revised Draft Final Preliminary Assessment
2006: Site Recommendations, Site Prioritization, and Cost Analyses
2010: NAVFAC Final Site Inspection Report for Five Munitions Areas - Response Program Sites: Bomb Testing Butt, Original Explosion Pit, Relocated Explosion Pit, Fire Pit, and Pistol Range
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The Facility continues use as a primary research center.
The EPA is dedicated to providing you with timely and accurate information about our work at this site. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the EPA Project Manager: Sharon D. Kenny at (215-814-3417).