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Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station


Cherry Point MCAS

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile

EPA ID: NC1170027261
Location: Havelock, Craven County, NC
Lat/Long: 34.900000, -076.891700
Congressional District: 03
NPL Status: Proposed: 08/23/94; Final: 12/16/94
Affected Media: Ground Water, Soil, Sediments, Surface Water
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control:Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – an active military facility is located on site
Site Manager: Gena Townsend (townsend.gena@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station site includes an active U.S. Marine Corps installation – Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point. It opened in 1942. The EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994 because of contaminated ground water, soil, sediment and surface water resulting from the installation’s operations. The EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), the U.S. Navy (Navy) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working at or near the site. By treating or monitoring ground water, capping or removing contaminated soil, putting in place land use restrictions and doing required Five-Year Reviews, the EPA, NCDENR and the Navy continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The site is an active military installation north of the town of Havelock, in southeastern Craven County, North Carolina. The site covers about 13,164 acres on a peninsula north of Core and Bogue Sounds and south of the Neuse River. Hancock Creek borders the site to the east. North Carolina Highway 101 borders the site to the south. An irregular boundary line about 0.75 miles west of Slocum Creek borders the site to the west. The Neuse River borders the site to the north. Surrounding land uses include commercial and residential areas. Public land (Croatan National Forest) is also located nearby.

Commissioned in 1942, MCAS Cherry Point provides support facilities and services for several groups. These include the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, the Fleet Readiness Center East, Service Support Detachment 21 of the Marine Logistics Group, the Naval Air Maintenance Training Group Detachment, and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. MCAS Cherry Point also maintains facilities for training and supporting the Atlantic Fleet Marine Force aviation units. It is a designated primary aviation supply point. In 1994, the EPA listed the site on the NPL.

View site loaction map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, soil, sediment and surface water that could potentially harm people in the area. Primary contaminants of concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Investigations also identified polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals in site soils.

Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working at or near the site. Restrictions control ground water and land use across portions of the site where contamination remains above cleanup levels. The Navy also uses fencing to control site access.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The Navy leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight and technical support provided by the EPA and NCDENR.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on nine areas. The EPA refers to these areas as operable units, or OUs. They cover large portions of the site and contain one or more specific areas of contamination. OU-1 (Groundwater Central Hotspot Area), for example, is an industrial area in the southern portion of MCAS Cherry Point. It covers about 565 acres and includes 12 areas designated for investigation and possible cleanup.

View OU location map for OUs and sites evaluated as part of the 2008 Five-Year Review.

The Navy and the EPA have issued twelve cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or RODs) for OUs at the site.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress


The Navy has taken many actions to clean up and control the areas of contamination. It has done so in cooperation with the EPA and NCDENR.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.


The Navy has implemented several OU-1 cleanup actions. They include running a ground water pump-and-treat system and an air sparging/soil vapor extraction system for Site 16. Site 16 is a disposal site that contains petroleum products. in March 2005, the AS/SVE system was shut down because it was not achieving the remedial action objectives and the system was decommissioned (including well abandonment) in 2011. A No Further Action ROD was signed for Sites 14, 15, 17, 18 and 40 in September 2010 and a No Further Action ROD for Site 83 was signed in Octover 2012. A Draft Proposed Plan for site 16 was submitted in August 2012 and the Record of Decision is expected to be completed by FY 2016.

The pump and treat system was shut down in 2005 because of decreasing efficiency and interference with ongoing treatability studies. Decommission of the components of the pump and treat system installed is in the plannig stages, and should be completed in FY 2014.

Two pilot studies are underway to investigate potential alternate groundwater treatment options to address the OU1 Central Groundwater Plume. the purpose of these pilot studies is to gather information to aid in the selection of potential remedies to address the plume and is expected to be completed in FY 2014.


In 1998, the Navy put in a soil vapor extraction system to address VOC-contaminated soil. The system ran until the soil met cleanup goals in 2003.

The Navy continues to monitor ground water, surface water and sediment from both Turkey Gut and Slocum Creek.

Based on soil sampling results, the EPA updated the OU-2 cleanup plan (a ROD amendment) in 2011 describing its plan for addressing a contaminated soil area known as Hot Spot 2. The Navy carried out the plan in 2012. It included putting a cover over the contaminated soil.

Land use restrictions limit site land uses to industrial uses. They also do not allow ground water use. Fencing and warning signs control access to the site.


The Navy installed an air sparging system in 2000 at Site 7 in OU-3 (Old Incinerator Area). The system addresses contaminated soil. The Navy shut the system down in 2003 after meeting cleanup goals.

The Navy began OU-3 ground water monitoring in 2002. The Navy stopped the monitoring in 2011 after the ground water samples met performance standards for four sampling events in a row.


The Navy began using monitored natural attenuation as the ground water cleanup approach for OU-4 in 2006.

Restrictions do not allow the withdrawal and future use of ground water, except for monitoring, from the upper-level aquifer within OU-4. The Navy has included these restrictions in its master planning process. It also updated the installation’s environmental geographic information system (GIS).

The Navy will continue long-term ground water monitoring until contaminants do not exceed the performance standards in the OU-4 ROD.


The Navy is using monitored natural attenuation as the ground water cleanup approach for OU-5 along with land use controls. Ground water monitoring is ongoing.

Restrictions do not allow ground water use, except for monitoring. The Navy has included the restrictions in its master planning process. It also updated the installation’s environmental GIS.


In 2007, the Navy excavated a tar-like layer in soils beneath the former location of Burn Pit E. The area is a potential source of ground water contamination.

The Navy is using monitored natural attenuation to address ground water contamination. It has monitored ground water since 2007.

Restrictions do not allow ground water use. They also protect monitoring wells in the OU-6 area.


The cleanup approach for OU-13 includes monitored natural attenuation of ground water and land use controls.

The Navy began ground water monitoring in 2006. Results indicate that overall VOC concentrations in the ground water have gone down.

Restrictions in place for OU-13 do not allow ground water use, except for monitoring. The Navy has included the restrictions in its master planning process. It also updated the installation’s environmental GIS.


OU-14 includes Site 90. It is an area of ground water contaminated with VOCs. Located in the west-central portion of the MCAS Cherry Point flight line complex, the site consists of a broad expanse of concrete tarmac, buildings, taxiways and some grassy areas adjacent to Runway 14L. The MCAS Cherry Point UST Program manages and investigates all releases from pipelines and underground and aboveground storage tanks.

The long-term cleanup plan consists of long-term monitoring with a land use control. Indoor air and vapor intrusion issues will be evaluated, if necessary, if new buildings are planned within the land use control’s designated area.

Long-term monitoring is ongoing. It will continue until ground water contaminants do not exceed the performance standards defined in the OU-14 ROD.


The selected cleanup plan (the ROD) for OU-15 called for “no further action.” Previous investigations found that there were no threats to people or the environment.


The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2013, found that the cleanups at OU-1, OU-2, OU-3, OU-4, OU-5, OU-6 and OU-13 were protective in the short term. Additional cleanup activities were still needed for OU-1.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.

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Enforcement Activities

In 2005, the EPA, the Navy and NCDENR signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) for the site. The FFA helps make sure that the parties will fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the installation. It also helps ensure that they will take appropriate cleanup actions. The FFA establishes schedules, priorities and enforceable milestones for cleanup activities.

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Community Involvement

The EPA has worked with MCAS Cherry Point, the community and its state partner 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.

The EPA and its partners have 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, interviews and public meetings on cleanup activities and updates.

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Future Work

Ground water monitoring and enforcement of land use controls is ongoing.

The EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2013. The EPA plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2018.

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Additional Information

The Navy keeps site documents and information in an online site information repository.

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

Site Repository

The repository for Cherry Point MCAS is an online repository.

Note: Some internet browsers do not include Department of Defense (DoD) digital security certificates, which may result in a security warning recommending that the user not proceed. Though there is no harm from proceeding, to avoid such security alerts first download the DoD Root CA Certificates by following the instructions at the following web site: http://dodpki.c3pki.chamb.disa.mil/rootca.html

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