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USN Air Station Cecil Field

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Air sparge/vapor extraction system on the Cecil Field Naval Air Station site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FL5170022474
Location: Jacksonville, Duval County, FL
Lat/Long: 30.238610, -081.902770
Congressional District: 06
NPL Status: Proposed: 07/14/89; Final: 11/21/89
Affected Media: Debris, Ground water, Sediment, Soil, Surface soil, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities have started
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In reuse – an airport and business park are located on site. Planned future uses include industrial and commercial areas, parks and recreational facilities
Site Manager: Doyle Brittain (brittain.doyle@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

USN Air Station Cecil Field (Cecil Field) is a former U.S. Navy (Navy) installation. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) closed the installation in 1999. A team of agencies, referred to as the Cecil Field Base Realignment and Closure Cleanup Team, or BCT, have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site.

Parties have identified over 600 potential areas requiring investigation under the Superfund program and 235 storage tank sites requiring action under the State of Florida’s Petroleum Cleanup Program . As of 2010, parties have investigated all of these sites; removed or transferred all storage tanks to current owners; and addressed all associated contamination. The BCT is now addressing buried munitions recently identified at Cecil Field. By cleaning up and monitoring contamination, enforcing institutional controls, and conducting required Five-Year Reviews, the Navy, EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) continue to make sure residents and the environment are protected from site contamination. Since 1999, the Navy has successfully transferred almost all of the installation to local authorities for redevelopment and reuse.

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Site Location and Background

Cecil Field is located in northeastern Florida, primarily in Duval County. Jacksonville is located about 14 miles to the northeast. The southernmost part of Cecil Field is located in Clay County. The former installation occupies approximately 17,225 acres. Surrounding land uses to the west and north are rural and mostly forested. Small communities and scattered residences are located in the area. A developed area that includes commercial land uses, an airport, a golf course and single-family homes is also located along major east-west roadways further east of Cecil Field.

The Navy used Cecil Field for fuel storage, aircraft maintenance, engine repair and turbojet engine testing. In 1989, EPA placed the site on the NPL. DoD placed NAS Cecil Field on the Base Realignment and Closure list in 1993 and closed the installation in 1999.

Since 1999, the Navy has transferred 17,042 of the installation’s 17,225 acres to local authorities (the Jacksonville Airport Authority, the City of Jacksonville, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Office) for redevelopment. Cecil Commerce Center and Cecil Airport are now located at Cecil Field. The City of Jacksonville is also planning to develop parts of Cecil Field for recreational purposes. The BCT will transfer the remaining few acres of the installation after related cleanup work is complete. The BCT continues to work with local authorities to support the effective reuse and redevelopment of the properties at the installation.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Examples of the numerous contaminants of concern in ground water include arsenic, chlordane and tetrachloroethene. Examples of the many contaminants of concern identified in soil include antimony, lead and polychlorinated biphenyls.

As August 2009, the Navy had addressed all immediate threats and made sure all long-term threats were under control.

Ground water monitoring is ongoing. Land use controls remain in place.

Contamination at the installation is not a threat to local residents and businesses (i.e., human exposure is under control).

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The Navy leads the investigation and cleanup of the site, with support and cleanup decision-making provided by the BCT. The BCT includes representatives from the Navy, EPA and FDEP. EPA and FDEP also provide oversight.

Property owners at the former installation are responsible for making sure land use controls put in place by the Navy remain in place.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities at Cecil Field have focused on twelve areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. OU-1, for example, refers to the Old Landfill and a nearby area named the Recent Landfill.

The Navy and EPA have issued cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or RODs) for all 12 OUs. In total, the Navy and EPA, in cooperation with FDEP, have issued 25 RODs and eight No Further Action (NFA) decision documents.

View OU Map

The Navy and EPA issued the final cleanup plan (ROD) for the installation in 2008. The parties issued the ROD for an area used as a former skeet range and the location of a former burn chamber for the disposal of live munitions (OU-5, Site 15). Cleanup activities selected in the most recent cleanup plan included:

Summaries of other OUs and selected cleanup approaches are available online in site RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

Overview

The Navy began cleanup actions at Cecil Field in 1994. The Navy, in coordination with the BCT, has investigated all previously identified Superfund areas; removed or transferred all storage tanks to current owners; and addressed all associated contamination. The Navy evaluates most cleanup approaches in use on a monthly basis. The Navy is also monitoring federal Superfund and state Petroleum Cleanup Program areas. The Navy is also conducting cleanup actions for OU-5, Site 15.

Summaries of cleanup activities at Cecil Field are also available in Five-Year Reviews.

OU-5, Site 15

Soil in OU-5 contains high concentrations of lead. Operators buried scrap metal and some live unexploded ordnance/munitions explosion constituents (UXO/MEC) in the area. The Navy is digging up about 0.25 acres of soil per week. The pace of the cleanup is slow since the Navy must safely screen all soil before it can dig up and dispose of the soil. 

Conclusion

The installation’s second Five-Year Review, completed in 2005, found that the Navy was meeting or exceeding the requirements of the cleanup plans (ROD) for the OUs.

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Enforcement Activities

For many years, EPA has been working with its federal and state partners to clean up the site. In 1990, the Navy, EPA and FDEP signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) to make sure the parties fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the site and undertake and complete proper cleanup actions.

RODs and Five-Year Reviews provide information on the FFA for the installation.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state and federal partners to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the site, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices and information meetings.

A Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) made up of concerned citizens and supported by the BCT met in the 1990s and 2000s. The RAB is currently inactive.

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Future Work

The Navy is conducting cleanup efforts for OU-5, Site 15.

The Navy is conducting ground water monitoring across the installation.

Land use controls remain in place.

The Navy is addressing recently identified buried munitions.

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Additional Information

EPA keeps additional site documents and information in a site information repository at the location below. EPA also posts site documents, when available, on EPA’s CERCLIS Site Profile page. For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

Site Repository

City Clerk’s Office
75 King Street
St. Augustine, FL  32085

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