Tyndall Air Force Base
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: FL1570024124
Location: Panama City, Bay County, FL
Lat/Long: 30.087500, -085.586660
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/17/96; Final: 04/01/97
Affected Media: Soil, Sediment, Surface water, Ground water
Cleanup Status: Investigations are ongoing
Human Exposure Under Control: No
Ground water Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In use – an active military facility is located on site
Site Manager: Julie Corkran (email@example.com)
Current Site Status
Tyndall Air Force Base (Tyndall) is an active U.S. Air Force (Air Force) installation. In the past, the installation’s operations contaminated soil, sediment, ground water and surface water prompting EPA to place the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1997. Tyndall does not have a Record of Decision for cleanup of environmental contamination. As such, Tyndall has not met the two Superfund measures of cleanup progress of “current human exposures” and “contaminated groundwater migration” as “under control.”
The Air Force entered into an Interagency Agreement (IAG), also known as a Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) with EPA and the State in September of 2013 to guide the cleanup of the Base. Subsequent to public comment on the agreement, the Tyndall FFA became final and effective on January 3, 2014. The FFA includes the site cleanup plan (Appendix C, the Site Management Plan) that ensures coordination of work priorities and establishes enforceable schedules for cleanup activities for the life of the project. The FFA also ensures that concerned citizens in the community, including Base workers and Base residents, have a voice in the cleanup decisions. In 2014, the parties will develop the Site Management Plan, including the detailed schedules for conducting the cleanup at the Base through 2025.
Site Location and Background
Tyndall Air Force Base is located one mile southeast of Panama City, Florida. It encompasses about 29,000 acres on a narrow, 18-mile-long, northwest-southeast peninsula. Major communities surrounding the installation include Panama City, Lynn Haven, Springfield, Callaway, and Cedar Grove to the northwest, Panama City Beach to the west, and Mexico Beach to the southeast. The federal government activated Tyndall in 1941 as a flexible gunnery school for the U.S. Army Air Corps and re-designated it as an Air Force Base in 1947. Tyndall is currently part of the Air Combat Command, testing air defense systems and training air crews.
Threats and Contaminants
Historical activities at Tyndall Air Force Base resulted in releases of contaminants to the environment. These activities include:
- aircraft and vehicle maintenance;
- storage and distribution of petroleum and jet fuels;
- development and testing of rapid runway repair materials;
- fire suppression research and fire fighter training;
- small arms training;
- explosive ordnance testing, training, and disposal;
- landfilling of sanitary, construction, demolition and industrial debris;
- construction and maintenance of buildings, roads and runways; and
- domestic and industrial wastewater treatment and disposal.
Site investigations found contamination in ground water, sediments, soils and surface water that could potentially harm people and environmental resources in the area. Contaminants of potential concern identified include:
- pesticides such as DDT and chlordane;
- solvents such as trichloroethylene (also known as TCE), tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC), and related solvent breakdown products including vinyl chloride;
- petroleum products, wastes, and jet fuels mixed with hazardous substances;
- munitions and munitions constituents;
- metals including lead, arsenic, chromium and barium; and
- fire fighting chemicals, also known as perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), perfluorooctanoic acid(PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).
Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight
The Air Force has responsibility for investigating and cleaning up environmental contamination on Tyndall as well as any contamination that has migrated, or has the potential to migrate, beyond the Base boundaries. As regulatory oversight agencies, EPA and the State have the responsibility to provide guidance and assistance to the Air Force in carrying out all investigation and cleanup activities under the FFA, ensuring protection of public health, welfare and the environment.
Site Cleanup Plan
Tyndall Air Force Base does not currently have an approved plan for cleanup of environmental contamination at the Base. However, in 2014, the parties will develop and adopt the Site Management Plan (Appendix C to the FFA) which contains the detailed schedules and priorities for conducting the business of cleanup at the Base through 2025.
No Records of Decision (RODs) selecting environmental cleanup actions have been achieved at this Base. However, under the FFA, it is anticipated that the public will be invited to comment on proposed cleanup plans (Proposed Plans) and RODs as early as 2015 and RODs will follow shortly thereafter.
Future cleanup challenges include:
- ground water that can be easily contaminated, is used as a drinking water source on base, and recharges an extensive system of critical wetland and bayou habitat;
- characterization and cleanup of multiple military munitions ranges;
- protection of over 40 threatened and endangered plant and animal species; and
- ensuring adequate control of civilian, military, visitor and trespasser access to areas of contamination.
Finalized as a Superfund site on the National Priorities List in 1997, the Air Force did not enter into an IAG/FFA with EPA and the State for regulatory oversight of the Tyndall Air Force Base cleanup until 2013. Due to delays in establishing the FFA, EPA issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Administrative Order in 2007 for cleanup of Tyndall. The Order required the Air force to establish work schedules, conduct investigation and cleanup activities with EPA oversight, and provide meaningful opportunities for State and public participation in the decision-making process. However, the Air Force did not comply with the work requirements in the Order and EPA lacked the authority to enforce the Order due to Department of Justice (DOJ) policy: this issue is discussed in 2010 GAO Report:
- Interagency Agreements and Improved Project Management Needed to Achieve Cleanup Progress at Key Defense Installations; GAO-10-348, July 2010 (PDF) (73 pp, 2.6MB, About PDF)
The FFA for Tyndall was executed by the Air Force, the State, and EPA in September of 2013, and submitted to the public for comment. When the FFA became final and effective in January of 2014, EPA withdrew the RCRA Order. Although the Air Force cleanup program at Tyndall pre-dates identification as a Superfund site in 1997, the cleanup will proceed in the future under the FFA. With formal oversight by EPA and State under the FFA, the three parties will be able to assure the public that site contamination has been correctly characterized and all cleanup actions are protective of people’s health and environmental resources.
- Tyndall Air Force Base Federal Facility Agreement (Final, January 2014)
- Response to Public Comment on the Tyndall Air Force Base FFA (January 2014)
- Appendix C to the Tyndall FFA, Initial Site Management Plan (this document is under development)
The Air Force has periodically conducted community involvement activities related to the Base cleanup program such as public notices and information meetings. Technical Review Committees (TRCs) and Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs) are opportunities for the Air Force to facilitate citizen involvement in cleanup decisions: public outreach to gauge interest in a TRC will occur in 2014. In addition, the Tyndall Community Involvement Plan will be updated in 2014 and made available at the document repositories located at the Base and at the Bay County Public Library.
Prior to the FFA becoming final and effective, and dating back to identification of Tyndall as a Superfund site, the Air force has conducted a continuous program of environmental investigation and cleanup at the Base. With the FFA in place, the cleanup will proceed in the future under the Superfund program with formal oversight by EPA and State to ensure that site contamination has been correctly characterized and cleanup actions are protective of people’s health and environmental resources. Future work under the FFA will build upon the investigations and reports already conducted by the Air Force. After an early focus on completing investigations and reporting, the parties expect to begin proposing cleanup actions, including issuing Proposed Plans for public comment and conducting public meetings, in 2015. The Air Force currently projects that all cleanup actions will have been identified and implemented by 2024.
The Air Force keeps site documents and information in a site information repository at the locations below. As new documents are created, the Air Force may update their information repository. Any questions about the information repository may be directed to the Tyndall Air Force Base Remedial Project Manager at (850) 283-4712.
Tyndall Base Library
640 Suwannee Road, Bldg. 916
Tyndall Air Force Base, FL 32403
Bay County Library
898 West 11th Street
Panama City, FL 32401