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NPL Site Narrative for Iowa Army Ammunition Plant

Middletown, Iowa

Federal Register Notice:  August 30, 1990

Conditions at proposal (July 14, 1989): The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP) covers 19,127 acres in rural Des Moines County near Middletown, Iowa, approximately 10 miles west of Burlington. IAAP's primary mission since 1941 and intermittently to the present has been to load, assemble, and pack a variety of conventional ammunitions and fusing systems. The current operating contractor is Mason and Hanger-Silas Mason Co., Inc.

Wastes produced at IAAP consist of various explosive-containing sludges, waste water, and solids; lead-containing sludges; ashes from incineration and open burning of explosives; and waste solvent from industrial and laboratory operations. The explosives include trinitrotoluene (TNT), dinitrotoluene (DNT), and cyclomethylenetrinitramine (RDX). Past operations generated waste pesticides, radioactive wastes that have been removed from the site, and incendiaries.

IAAP 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. As part of IRP, the Army has identified a number of potentially contaminated areas, including a now-unused 4-acre settling lagoon at Line 800 (known as the Line 800 Pink Water Lagoon), which received explosive-containing waste water intermittently during 1943-70. It now holds an estimated 37,000 cubic yards of hazardous sludges. A second area under investigation involves an earthen and concrete dam across Brush Creek, which was used during 1948-56. The dam was removed in 1957. Waste water from Line 1 flowed through a 3.6-acre sedimentation area where explosives settled out, and the liquids overflowed the dam into Brush Creek.

IRP tests conducted in 1981 and 1983 detected TNT, DDT, and RDX in wells downgradient of the lagoon and dam. An estimated 100 people obtain drinking water from private wells within 3 miles of hazardous substances at the base.

In 1984, IRP tests detected RDX and TNT in water from Brush Creek, and RDX, TNT, and lead in creek sediments. Surface water within 3 miles downstream of the site is used for recreational activities.

Three incinerator-furnace units and a spray evaporation pond on IAAP are regulated under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Status (August 30, 1990): EPA and the Army are negotiating an Interagency Agreement under CERCLA Section 120. The agreement requires the Army to submit schedules for addressing all contaminated areas in IAAP and allows for EPA and State comment throughout subsequent response activities.

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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