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Homestead Air Force Base


Jet engine test cell facility on Homestead Air Force Base site.
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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FL7570024037
Location: Homestead, Dade County, FL
Lat/Long: 25.489440, -080.396940
Congressional District: 17
NPL Status: Proposed: 07/14/89; Final: 08/30/90
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Construction complete - physical cleanup activities have been completed
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Much of the base has been transitioned to an Air Reserve Base; most of the remaining portion of the base has been transferred to Dade County for redevelopment.
Site Manager: Doyle Brittain (brittain.doyle@epa.gov)

Site Background

The Homestead Air Force (Homestead) site is located in southern Dade County, Florida, approximately 25 miles southwest of Miami, seven miles northeast of Homestead, two miles west of Biscayne National Park, and five miles east of Everglades National Park. Before closure, the site (Base) covered approximately 2,916 acres. The Homestead site is surrounded by large agricultural lands, residences, and small businesses. Currently, many of those agricultural lands are rapidly becoming dense residential areas and large shopping centers.  

In 1990, the Homestead site was listed as final on the National Priorities List (NPL).

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew virtually destroyed Homestead Air Force Base (AFB). In 1994 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act, the installation (i.e., 852 acres) transitioned from an active duty base to an Air Reserve Station under management of the Air Force Reserve Command.

In 2003, Homestead Air Reserve Station was officially realigned as an Air Reserve Base (ARB) that is comprised of 1,943 acres, which includes the runway and main taxi ways. This retained property, referred to as the cantonment area, comprises the current Homestead ARB.

The Florida Air National Guard, US Customs Service, Job Corps Training Center, and a few other small groups obtained small parcels at the former Homestead AFB. The remainder of the former Homestead AFB has been transferred to Dade County for redevelopment.

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Threats and Contaminants

Contamination existed in many small areas around the Homestead site. Contaminants are those typical of the operation of an airport, e.g., jet fuel and metals.

Of particular concern at the Homestead site are the Boundary Canal which surrounds and catches the storm water runoff from the Homestead site, and the Outfall Canal which drains the storm water from the Boundary Canal into Biscayne National Park. The public expressed high interest in these canals because the former Homestead AFB is unique in being the only NPL site in the nation that discharges water directly into a National Park.

In particular, the National Park Service and environmentalists were concerned that contamination from the Homestead site was contained in the sediments of the Boundary and Outfall Canals and were being transported into Biscayne National Park. Biscayne National Park is considered by the National Park Service and environmentalists to be “the pearl of the National Park System.”

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Site Cleanup Plan

As part of the Homestead site cleanup strategy, 31 Operable Units (OUs) and one Area of Concern were identified. These OUs typically refer to various portions of the site. OU-1, for example, refers to Fire Protection Training Area No. 2. All Records of Decision (RODs), describing the cleanup approaches selected for the various portions of the site, have been issued. Major components of the cleanup approach selected for OU-15, Former Hazardous Waste Storage Building (Building 153), identified in one of the final RODs issued for the site, included:

Details for other OUs are available in RODs and Five-Year Reviews (FYRs) online.

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Cleanup Progress

All environmental investigation and cleanup action has been completed. The concerns of environmentalists and the National Park Service have been addressed. All that remains is to continue monitoring the ground water until Federal and State ground water standards have been met, and to manage the Land Use Controls (LUCs) on areas that were remediated for industrial but not residential reuse. FYRs will also continue.

The 2003 FYR evaluated 13 OUs and the Area of Concern. It concluded that cleanup actions and cleanup systems at the site have been successfully meeting cleanup objectives and are achieving their principal performance goals of removing contamination from the source areas.

The 2004 FYR evaluated 14 OUs. It concluded that cleanup approaches for all OUs addressed in the report remain protective of human health and the environment.

One Five Year Review was conducted at the former HAFB consisting of two parts as described above.  Both parts were approved in 2005.  The next Five Year Review is due in 2010.  Refer to both documents for additional information.

As required by the ROD for OU-11, the Outfall Canal, a.k.a., the Military Canal, the Department of the Air Force (Air Force) assisted the Dade County Department of Environmental Regulation by providing them with $800,000 to assist in the construction of a constructed wetland at the lower end of the Outfall Canal. This is a pilot test. Information gained from this pilot test will be used by the State in returning other canals into constructed wetlands. The desired benefit of a constructed wetland is to spread fresh water out over a large land area and allow it to slowly trickle into Biscayne National Park rather than to periodically inject large slugs of fresh water directly into the Park, (large slugs of fresh water being toxic to salt water habitats).

The Air Force is leading site cleanup activities with oversight by EPA.

Construction Completion was achieved 09/29/06, when the Preliminary Site Closeout Report (PCOR) was approved. Refer to this document for additional information.

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Enforcement Activities

In 1991, a Federal Facilities Agreement was signed between EPA, the State of Florida and the Air Force. The primary purposes of the agreement was to ensure that the environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the Facility are thoroughly investigated and an appropriate cleanup response is developed and implemented as necessary to protect the public health, welfare and the environment.

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Community Involvement

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Homestead site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices and information meetings on cleanup progress and activities.

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Future Work

Ground water monitoring will continue until Federal and State ground water standards have been met.

LUCs will continue to be managed on areas that were remediated for industrial but not residential reuse. 

The next FYR is required by 2010.

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Site Administrative Documents

Site Repository

For more information or to view any site-related documents. The Site Repository is available at

Installation Restoration Program
Homestead Air Reserve Base
360 Coral Sea Blvd.
Homestead ARB, FL 33039-1299

Administrative Record Index

For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

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