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Federal Government and Private Industry initiate Joint Landmark Approach to Superfund Cleanup

Release Date: 3/17/2003
Contact Information: Steve Milner (US Navy) (757) 396-9559

PORTSMOUTH, Va.--A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2:45 p.m. on March 18 at the Navy's Southgate Annex, located adjacent to Atlantic Wood Industries Inc. (AWII) and Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY). This ceremony will mark an innovative partnership in which the federal government and private industry have worked together on a co-mingled Superfund clean-up site.
The NNSY, AWII, Joint Approach Removal Action: The NNSY and AWII have entered into a Joint Resolution to address co-mingled contamination on their shared property boundary, on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. Both sites have been designated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) as Superfund sites.
The NNSY, AWII, Atlantic Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command (LANTDIV), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) were active participants in the planning for the action and will be providing oversight on the work at the site. Mike Host, of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Environmental Division, says “I see this as a breakthrough project, the benefits of which will extend far beyond the boundaries
of this site. The relationship forged between its partners will be a foundation for success in future projects not yet started. It will demonstrate in a very real way what people and organizations, working together, can accomplish. That’s the real power of a project like this - its potential to inspire others to take on new challenges, and achieve new successes that exceed anything we currently dare to expect.”
"Thanks to this innovative agreement between EPA, the U.S. Navy and AWII, significant amounts of contamination from two Superfund sites will no longer threaten the Elizabeth River. This is an excellent example of the Superfund law's flexibility, and EPA applauds our partners for their cooperation in reaching a sound solution to a complex environmental problem," said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.
VDEQ Project Manager, Devlin Harris states “This has been an incredibly challenging project that could not have been done without the collaborative effort and innovative thinking by all the stakeholders and, yes, even some risk taking. Well done!”
History of the Site: The contaminants of potential concern (COPCs) at the site include calcium hydroxide, abrasive blast material (ABM), metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), treated wood wastes, and inert construction debris. The calcium hydroxide was generated as a by-product from the manufacturing of acetylene gas at NNSY from the 1940s until 1971. The Navy ABM, which contributes to the metals contamination in the area to be capped, is generated from paint stripping operations. The treated wood wastes, inert construction debris, and PAHs are by-products of AWII's former wood treatment operations.
Work on the Site: The site can be categorized into the following general areas of concern: South Gate Annex ABM Area, AWII-Navy Boundary Lagoon and NNSY Site 9, Site Restoration and the Cap Area, described below.
South Gate Annex ABM Area. The contractor will excavate approximately 535 cy of ABM at the South Gate Annex ABM Area and approximately 444 cy of petroleum-contaminated gravel/soil from the South Gate Annex ABM Area. This material will be disposed of at an offsite approved permitted disposal facility. The work in this area began in mid-February and will be completed by March 2003. This area will be returned to original grade using clean fill material.

AWII-Navy Boundary Lagoon and NNSY Site 9. The contractor will excavate approximately 700 cubic yards (cy) of ABM and 1,400 cy of CaOH from NNSY Site 9, and 19,600 cy of CaOH from the AWII-Navy Boundary Lagoon. The CaOH will be stabilized on-site to improve its consistency for transportation. The resultant waste will be transported off-site for disposal at an approved permitted facility. The ABM will also be disposed of at an approved permitted disposal facility. A confirmatory sampling program is in place to ensure all wastes are characterized and disposed of correctly. The excavation and offsite disposal of the CaOH sludge will begin in early March and continue through mid-May 2003.

Site Restoration. An engineered wetlands will be created in the areas of CaOH sludge excavation. The wetlands grasses are planned to be planted before mid-June to optimize the growing season.

Cap Area. The Cap Area is located west of where the engineered tidal wetland will be. The contractor will cap this area with an EPA-approved impermeable layer to prevent surface water infiltration and promote good drainage. The Cap Area will be constructed after the engineered wetlands are planted. Construction of the cap will begin in late 2003 and will be completed in early 2004.

In 2001, another NNSY Installation Restoration CERCLA site, Former New Gosport Landfill, was remediated. All of this waste was removed and wetlands were planted to achieve 1.9 acres of saltmarsh wetlands and restoration of the AWII/Navy site will remove the waste and plant wetlands in its place. The current project is continuing progress to clean up the shipyard’s Installation restoration sites. Marjorie Mayfield-Jackson, Executive Director, Elizabeth River Project said "Tremendous! A major, major breakthrough in the restoration of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. Congratulations to all for persevering to overcome complex and daunting obstacles. Future generations will appreciate it.”

RADM David Architzel, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic states that "As DOD executive lead agent for the Chesapeake Bay Program, I am proud of the local watershed initiatives our installations participate in that support restoration and preservation of the Bay's living resources, vital habitat and overall water quality. The incorporation of an engineered tidal wetland into the final remedy for this site supports both the local Elizabeth River Watershed Action Plan and the regional Chesapeake 2000 goals - this project truly fits the category of government by example! These participating commands and agencies are to be commended for forging an innovative partnership that provides long-term benefits to both industry and the environment."

“It is very rewarding to see site remediation of two adjoining Superfund sites and the creation of a tidal wetlands where waste once was. The Navy, AWI, EPA, and VDEQ worked together as a team to conceptualize the end goal, then aggressively sought to overcome the many unique challenges, both technical and legal, to accomplish that goal. The team’s accomplishment challenges others to resolve complex situations using innovative ideas and saying “What if WE”” – Tim Reisch, Remedial Project Manager, Naval Facilities Engineering Command
“This project is another example of the commitment shown by the Navy and our neighbors here along the Elizabeth River to work together and restore our environment. Teamwork prevails again!” - Captain Mark Hugel, NNSY Shipyard Commander.