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NPL Site Narrative for Fort Lewis Logistics Center

Tillicum, Washington

Federal Register Notice:  November 21, 1989

Conditions at proposal (July 14, 1989): The Fort Lewis Logistics Center has operated on about 650 acres southeast of Tillicum, Pierce County, Washington, since 1942. The area around the center is military and residential. Its primary mission is to maintain, repair, and store military supplies.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) and trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (trans) are used as solvents at several locations and stored inside or adjacent to buildings. Until the 1970s, waste TCE and sludge containing TCE and petroleum were disposed of directly into the ground at three known areas in or adjacent to the center, which is in the northeast portion of the 86,500 acres occupied by Fort Lewis. Fort Lewis (Landfill No. 5) was placed on the NPL in July 1987.

Fort Lewis is participating in the Installation Restoration Program (IRP), established in 1978. Under this program, the Department of Defense seeks to identify, investigate, and clean up contamination from hazardous materials.

In 1986, IRP studies detected TCE and trans, as well as low levels of 1,1-dichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and 1,1-dichloroethane, in monitoring wells at the center. A plume of ground water in the shallow unconfined aquifer is contaminated with TCE. The plume extends toward Tillicum approximately 2 miles downgradient of the southern edge of the center, measures 2,500 feet wide, and reaches at least 80 feet below the water table, which is at 5-20 feet below the surface. A plume of trans similar but slightly smaller is also present. The TCE plume passes within 100 feet of a public well serving Tillicum. The lower aquifer is also contaminated with TCE, according to tests conducted in 1988 by the Army. An estimated 46,000 people obtain drinking water from wells within 3 miles of hazardous substances at the center.

As part of a Memorandum of Agreement signed by Fort Lewis and EPA on May 23, 1987, the Army is conducting a remedial investigation (RI) to determine the type and extent of contamination at the center. It is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 1989.

Status (November 21, 1989): The Army has completed the RI for the shallow aquifer and expects to select a remedy in early 1990; an RI for the lower aquifer is scheduled to start in 1990.

EPA, the Army, and the State expect late in the year to sign an Interagency Agreement under CERCLA Section 120 for oversight of activities at the center.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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