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News | April 5, 2023

Aviation commander receives briefing on aggressive cleanup efforts of contaminated groundwater on DSCR

By Leon Moore, Acting Chief of Public Affairs DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

The Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond Environmental Cleanup Program’s quarterly Restoration Advisory Board met Apr. 4 at Bensley Community Center in Chesterfield, Virginia.

DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Sean Tyler attended the early Tuesday evening meeting, his first since taking command of Aviation in July 2022.

Stephen Porch, an environmental engineer with the installation’s Environmental Office, opened the meeting by giving an update on several ongoing projects, including Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, groundwater sampling and cleanup efforts at various installation locations.

James Spencer from the engineering firm Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations, and Maintenance, the installation’s remediation support contractor, gave updates on Operable Units 6, 7 and 8, three of the four groundwater sites monitored for contaminates by Spencer’s office.

OU 6 is contaminated groundwater flowing under the installation, west of Building 54 and the National Guard Headquarters vehicle maintenance area, OU 7 is the groundwater contaminated within the former fire training area located just south of Parker Pond on the southeast side of DSCR and OU 8 is contaminated groundwater flowing under the softball field along G Road just inside DSCR’s North Gate off Strathmore Road.

Spencer’s OU 6, 7 and 8 updates included the ongoing unit monitoring, remedial actions and planned future remediation efforts.

Jimmy Parrish, chief of the Environmental Management Division for the installation said back in the ‘50s – early ‘70s, the area around OU6 used to be a ravine filled with about everything, from trichloroethylene, a  volatile, colorless liquid organic chemical, primarily used to make refrigerants and other hydrofluorocarbons; tetrachloroethylene, a nonflammable, liquid solvent, widely used in dry cleaning, wood processing, fabric manufacturing, and metal degreasing; and vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas, used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, wire coatings, vehicle upholstery and plastic kitchenware. These contaminates eventually leaked into the groundwater, causing the ongoing problems.

Parrish said back in the early ‘60s, the installation’s fire department would train by placing flammable materials in three fire pits around OU7 and set them on fire. It’s the remnants of these evolutions that are causing the contamination. These contaminates are volatile organic compounds such as tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene.

The area around OU 8 used to be a chemical plating operation for old steel helmets.

DLA established a RAB for Defense Supply Center Richmond in January 2002 to provide a forum for community involvement in the installation’s Environmental Cleanup Program.

As an advisory board, the RAB makes suggestions, recommendations and comments on issues concerning investigations and remediation activities. It is made up of local citizens, DLA representatives, business groups and personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering, the Environmental Protection Agency, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality and Chesterfield County. The RAB is co-chaired by DSCR and community representatives.