News | April 21, 2022

DSCR continues making great strides in its groundwater cleanup efforts

By Leon Moore, Public Affairs Specialist DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

The Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond Environmental Cleanup Program’s quarterly Restoration Advisory Board met April 18 at Bensley Community Center in Chesterfield, Virginia. It was the first time members had the option of attending the meeting in person since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Hufford, 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 an update on Operable Unit 8, one of four groundwater sites monitored for contaminates by Hufford’s office. OU 8 is contaminated groundwater flowing under the softball field along G Road just inside DSCR’s North Gate off Strathmore Road.

Hufford estimates the contamination occurred in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s and was discovered in the ‘80s.

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

Jimmy Parrish, chief of the Environmental Management Division for the installation, said the area used to be a chemical plating operation for old steel helmets.

He said there are four primary chemicals of concern within OU 8 groundwater:

  • Tetrachloroethene - a colorless liquid widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics.
  • Trichloroethene - a clear, colorless, non-flammable liquid commonly used as an industrial solvent.
  • Cis-1,2-dichloroethene - a highly flammable, colorless liquid used to produce solvents and in chemical mixtures.
  • Vinyl chloride - a chlorinated hydrocarbon primarily used to manufacture plastics.

Parrish said due to aggressive and successful remediation efforts implemented more than 10 years ago, including removing the contaminants from the groundwater by running them through a filtration system and then reinjecting the now clean groundwater upstream from the source of contamination, they are seeing between an 80 to 97% reduction in the size of the four separate plumes as well as a reduction in their levels of hazardous contamination.

“We still have a very long way to go with our remediation efforts. However, we couldn’t be happier with the progress we have made,” he said.

Parrish attributes the recent success to the leadership and innovative program management of Hufford and his peers from Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, Chesterfield County, Region III of the Environmental Protection Agency and AECOM.

“More than 10 years ago, we were facing what seemed to be an insurmountable environmental challenge,” Parrish said. “Dave and his team have clearly proven that good things can happen for the environment from intelligent and focused people working together.”

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 a DSCR and community representative.

The next RAB is scheduled for October 17. Contamination remediation efforts on Operable Units 6 and 7 will be discussed.