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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: U.S. Naval Support Activity (Formerly: National Naval Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland

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On November 21, 2000, EPA issued a Permit to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) for corrective action and waste minimization based on the authorities of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). The Permit requires proper management of hazardous materials and a RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI). The purpose of the RFI is to determine the extent of releases of hazardous waste and/or constituents at the facility. The RFI will include an environmental investigation of the Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs) at the site. EPA has approved the NNMC Interim Measures report for remediation of onsite contaminants at AOC #1 and AOC #12. EPA has received and reviewed the Priority One Interim RFI Report of the environmental investigation. EPA approved the ecological risk assessment on March 6, 2007. Approval was also granted for the Priority III Project Plan.

On April 19, 2017, EPA issued a final decision of No Further action that determined that the NNMC has completed all investigations and studies related to all Solid Waste Management Units and Areas of Concerns identified as part of the Permit. EPA terminated the Corrective Action Permit on May 11, 2017.

Cleanup Status

The Draft-Final RCRA Facility Investigation Report was submitted on August 15, 2008 and EPA provided comments on February 18, 2011. A meeting was held with NNMC to discuss EPA comments on March 15, 2011. On May 5, 2011, EPA issued a letter to NNMC concurring with the conclusion given in the RFI report that no further action is required for 12 SWMUs and AOCs. EPA also completed its review of the AOC 4 UST Excavation Report and granted approval for no further action in a letter to NNMC on May 11, 2011.

During BRAC construction in the area of Gate 5 debris was discovered. During excavation approximately 30 roll-off containers (~943 tons) of soil which included tires, drums and crushed 5-gallon pails were removed. Confirmatory samples were taken.

EPA issued a Statement of Basis  for no further investigation or cleanup for SWMUs four, five, six, eight, nine, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 25, 28, 34 and AOCs one, seven, eight, and 12; concurrently EPA is issuing a draft permit for the further investigation of the remaining 10 SWMUs and five AOCs at the Facility. The public notice was issued June 19, 2013 and the public comment period ended on August 5, 2013.

On February 7, 2017, EPA issued a Statement of Basis for no further investigation or cleanup for the rest of the SWMUs and AOCs, included in the RCRA Corrective Action Permit. Concurrent with the Statement of Basis, EPA also issued a Notice of Termination Permit for the Facility.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Bethesda, Maryland


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The 243-acre federal facility, formally known as the Naval Medical Command National Capital Region, is now known as the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), Bethesda, MD. NNMC is a large hospital, laboratory and medical research facility which generates various waste streams. The facility is located in Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland within the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

NNMC consist of 35 SWMUs and 12 AOCs. Chemicals of concern include tetrachloroethane, trichloroethane and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene which have been detected in the background studies. The RCRA Facility Investigation of the site will determine the nature and extent of contaminants at the SWMUs and Areas of Concerns. EPA will evaluate the data gathered during the RFI and determine if clean-up measures are necessary to protect human health and the environment.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Chemicals of concern include tetrachloroethane, trichloroethane and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene which have been detected in the background studies.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional Controls are not required. 

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility is under continued use.

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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 the Environment.

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