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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Orbital ATK (Formerly: Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC), Elkton, Maryland

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Cleanup Status

On March 22, 2017, EPA issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which it described the information gathered during environmental investigations (RFI) at the Facility and proposed a Final Remedy for the Facility.  Concurrent with issuing the SB, EPA issued a draft Corrective Action Permit.

On May 26, 2017, EPA issued the Permit and Final Remedy for the Facility requiring the following:

  • Long term groundwater and pore water monitoring
  • Compliance with and maintenance of land and groundwater use restrictions
  • Engineering controls
  • Soil management including consolidation and capping

The Permit required the submittal of a Corrective Measures Implementation Workplan that provides the detailed tasks to be implemented as the Final Remedy.

Background

On August 23, 2005, the State of Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) renewed and modified the ATK Controlled Hazardous Substances Storage and Treatment Facility Permit (Permit Number A-052). EPA’s corrective action permit issued to ATK was renewed on May 26, 2017, and required the implementation of the Final Remedy. The previous EPA CA permit (1989) required ATK to investigate and characterize environmental releases at the site.

A site-wide Corrective Measures Study (CMS) report was submitted in 2007 addressing five of seven SWMUs identified in the 1989 Permit including the following SWMUs: TCE Area, A-Area SWMU, Beryllium, Still Bottoms Area, C-Area, Sand Pit, and Pesticide Area.  The two SWMUs excluded from the 2007 CMS were the C-Area SWMU that is addressed under the Maryland Permit, and the Pesticide Area SWMU, addressed in separate reports as a result of different operators.

EPA approved an RFI Addendum on March 30, 2015, concluding the investigation phase of the primary area of the Facility and requested the submission of a CMS Addendum to address revisions to the 2007 CMS Report.

A final Updated Technical Memorandum Remedial Action Objectives Pesticide Areas was submitted to EPA in July 2016, addressing the Pesticide Area SWMU.  EPA approved the Technical Memorandum in a letter dated September 27, 2016,  effectively concluding that site-wide RFI activities and Risk Assessments were completed.  In December 2016, ATK submitted a Pesticide Area CMS evaluating remedies to mitigate risk.  The two CMS reports were the basis for EPA’s Final Remedy decision in May 2017.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, Elkton, Maryland


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The ATK facility is located on approximately 550 acres in a mixed rural setting in Elkton, Maryland, Cecil County.  The Facility is bounded on the south by U.S. Route 40, commercial properties, and residential areas; on the east by Little Elk Creek and Triumph Industrial Park; and on the north and west by agricultural areas.   Industrial and commercial properties, including Triumph Industrial Park, Crouse Brothers, and a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) facility, are located to the east.  Agricultural areas, which are undergoing environmental cleanup and potential redevelopment, are located to the north and west.  The Little Elk Creek flows through the center of property.  Wetlands are located mostly along the creek and predominantly to the east in an undeveloped area.

Current land use includes active and inactive manufacturing operations, office space, warehousing, paved parking and service roads, rail lines, and undeveloped land serving as a buffer for the Facility.  The Geigy Chemical Company (Geigy) owned and operated the Facility from 1947 to 1955 before selling to Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation (Olin) in 1955.  Geigy and Olin formulated pesticides (chiefly DDT) during their years of occupancy.  The Facility was sold to Thiokol Corporation (Thiokol) in 1958.  In 2001 Alliant Techsystems Inc. acquired Thiokol and in 2015 merged with Orbital Sciences Corporation to become Orbital ATK Inc. (ATK).  ATK is the current owner and operator of the Facility.

The ATK facility designs, manufactures and conducts research on solid fuel rocket propellant, gas generators, and rocket propulsion units for use in space and defense.  The facility also manufactures safe-and-arm devices, semi-conductor bridge detonators and liquid gun propellants.

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Contaminants at this Facility

At this multi-component corrective action facility, SWMU and site-wide investigations have identified pesticide, volatile organic, metal contamination in the soil, surface water, and groundwater.

A shallow and intermediate aquifer groundwater plume migrating from the central portion of the facility towards the southeast is contaminated predominantly with TCE and its degradation products and perchlorate at concentrations above Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and drinking water equivalent level (DWEL), respectively.

The potential risks posed by the identified contaminants are being evaluated as part of the review of the Corrective Measures Study and the Remedial Action Objective Report.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

      Instituional Controls established through a Corrective Action Permit include:

    • Long term groundwater and pore water monitoring
    • Compliance with and maintenance of land and groundwater use restrictions
    • Engineering controls
    • Soil management including consolidation and capping

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The facility is an active industrial 500-acre facility.

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    Site Responsibility at this Facility

    RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from Maryland Department of Environmental Protection.

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