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U.S. EPA REGION 5
FRANKLIN COUNTY
LOCKBOURNE

Congressional District # 07

RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD (USAF)

EPA ID# OH3571924544
Last Updated: December, 2009

Site Description

Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base (RANGB) was originally named the Northeastern Training Center of the Army Air Corps, and later, renamed the Lockbourne Air Force Base. Construction on the Base began in 1942.

The base consisted of 1,574 acres by the end of 1942 and had two perpendicular runways and an X-shaped taxiway system. The current main diagonal runway was constructed in 1951 while the Base was occupied by the Strategic Air Command, which by then had grown to over 4,000 acres. The Base was renamed Rickenbacker Air Force Base in 1974. In 1980, the Base was closed and transferred to the Ohio Air National Guard (OHANG).

In 1982, the Base began the process of disposing of properties, including the sale of 1,642 acres to the Rickenbacker Port Authority (RPA), which was completed in 1985. In 1987, 24 acres was transferred to the Navy, which is currently vacant but still under the management of the Naval Reserve. A new Navy and Marine Corp Air Reserve Center was opened in August 2001, on former BRAC property transferred from the RPA back to the military.

The 2,016 remaining acres of the Base officially closed in 1994, per newly passed Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation, and that is when U.S. EPA began to be involved. Two sections were "realigned"; 170 acres for an OHANG "Cantonment",and 148 acres for the Ohio Army Guard/Reserves "Enclave". As of late 2003 less than 50 acres remain under Air Force ownership. Part of the 1985 transfer to the RPA was the Lockbourne AFB Landfill. Since this transfer occurred pre-BRAC, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Formerly-Used Defense Site (FUDS) program administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. U.S. EPA does not receive resources from DoD to participate in the investigation and cleanup of the Lockbourne Landfill but Ohio EPA does.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal (AFRPA,  Army Corps, and Navy Reserve) responsible parties actions.

Threats and Contaminants

The contamination found at RANGB is not unlike that found at other Air Force Bases, or for that matter, any large airport operating during the same time period. There has been considerable fuel contamination found around old underground fuel line systems and tanks. There have been chemical releases found around former storage areas and buildings. Low concentrations of semi-volatile organics and metals can be found in soils at many locations.

Most of the discovered releases requiring further cleanup were sites where chlorinated organic solvents were used. Trichloroethylene (TCE) and its breakdown products were found to pose a threat to groundwater, even given airport reuse assumptions, and so a number of projects were planned to address these releases.

The former drum storage area, Installation Restoration Program (IRP) Site 1, was given special attention do to its size, and was transferred to Ohio EPA’s RCRA Corrective Action Program.

Fuel releases are exempt by law from CERCLA, and were cleaned up based on Ohio’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation (BUSTR) regulations, overseen by Ohio EPA.

U.S. EPA was involved with decision-making for the five remaining IRP sites that still remained on Air Force property, following CERCLA procedures. Our activities are addressed in more detail in the Cleanup Progress Section of this fact sheet.

IRP Site 12, another drum storage area, is on OHANG property and is being addressed under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) by the Ohio Air Guard. In 1991, U.S. EPA’s office of Research and Development and the University of Cincinnati conducted the first test of the horizontal Lasagna™ process for in-place electrochemical treatment of TCE-contaminated soils, at Site 12. The test was considered a success, but only treated a small portion of the site. A paper on the project can be found here. (PDF)

The Naval Reserve has not yet begun an investigation that would be required before its 24 acres could be transferred to the Rickenbacker International Airport.

Cleanup Progress

The Air Force is the lead environmental response agency at RANGB per Executive order 12580. Those responsibilities are currently being performed by the Air Force Real Property Agency (AFRPA), known prior to 2002 as the Air Force Base Conversion Agency (AFBCA).

After passage of the BRAC law, several years passed before U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA and the Air Force could agree on a path forward for RANGB site cleanup. In 1999, an agreement was reached, and a Remedial Action Decision Document (RADD, the DoD equivalent of an EPA Record of Decision, or ROD) was signed by all three BRAC Cleanup Team (BCT) parties.

The basis of the agreement was the assumption that RANGB was going to continue to be used as an airport, so investigation and cleanup to unrestricted (residential) reuse was unnecessary.

The agreed remedial action activities were:

A two-year completion report was completed by the Air Force and was under review in late 2003 for four of the five sites. The cleanup strategy at Site 41 was apparently unsuccessful, and further investigation is planned by the Air Force.

The BRAC Cleanup Team (BCT) was able to accelerate the Rickenbacker cleanup by making the assumption that an evaluation for residential (unrestricted) reuse was unnecessary.  This approach requires the Air Force to establish land use restrictions in the new real estate deeds when property transfers into private ownership.  At private sector sites, U.S. EPA also requires that land use controls also be included in the ROD for the site.  U.S. EPA has been unable to concur with several Findings of Suitablilty to Transfer (FOSTs) at Rickenbacker because the Air Force will not amend the ROD (RADD) for Rickenbacker to incorporate the land use restrictions.

A Statement of Basis/Final Decision  for a No Further Action for Site SSOO2, also know as Site 2, was submitted by the Air Force.  Site 2, was the former location of a Bulk Fuel Storage Tank Farm.  This site was contaminated with petroleum-related compounds.  Benzine was the contaminant of concern. This site was remediated and the site reached the MCL for Benzine and during the period from October 2005 to March of 2008, Benzine was not detected at this site.  A No Further Action was granted.

Property Reuse

The principal reuse of RANGB is as the new Rickenbacker International Airport (www.rickenbacker.org), a combination free-trade zone and cargo airport that is growing rapidly. In 2003, the Rickenbacker Port Authority was merged with its sister agency, the Columbus Port Authority, to form the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA).

Major airport tenants include the air cargo carrier Evergreen International and Federal Express.   The airport is surrounded by a Free Trade Zone containing warehouses for dozens of international corporations.  A new multi-modal rail facility is under construction adjacent to the airport.  A new hotel has been built on-site, and a new passenger terminal serves charter flights.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
thomas smith (smith.thomasl@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6540

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
virginia narsete
(312) 886-4359

Aliases

RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE

 

Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.

 


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