Historical methods of hazardous waste disposal at Department of Defense sites across the country have created a legacy of environmental impacts. The Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) was established to identify, assess, investigate, and clean up existing contamination on the base. The process is based on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), as well as the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan (NCP).
Defense Supply Center Richmond was added to the National Priorities List in 1987. The National Priorities List (NPL) specifies those sites around the country that pose the greatest long term threat to human health and the environment. DSCR follows a comprehensive, integrated, installation-wide cleanup strategy that recognizes the interdependence of soil and groundwater impacts. This strategy involves eliminating or reducing continuing sources (i.e., through removal or treatment), controlling constituent movement in the environment, and controlling exposure to compounds that could pose an unacceptable human health or ecological risk. Remedy decisions made under this strategy are based on the more efficient and consistent development of remedial action objectives (RAOs) at individual OUs. The DLA Aviation Restoration team works closely with its regulatory partners, consisting of the US EPA and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to achieve its goals. Scientists and engineers are using innovative and cost-effective strategies to re-mediate contamination from a variety of hazardous substances including industrial solvents.
Past industrial operations at the installation have led to the accidental release of hazardous materials, such as solvents, pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, and metals. Throughout the 1980s, assessments were conducted to determine the impacts of these releases to the soil and groundwater on the installation. Initially six areas of contaminated soil and three areas of contaminated groundwater were identified and assigned an Operable Unit (OU) number. A later study focusing on pesticide monitoring identified three additional possible areas of concern.
Based on the results of these investigations, the installation was officially placed on the National Priorities List in 1987. In 1990, USEPA, VDEQ, and DGSC (now Defense Supply Center Richmond) entered into a Federal Facilities Agreement to continue monitoring areas of concern on the installation and to develop and implement remedial action plans. Thirteen OUs were ultimately defined.
Since then, considerable progress has been achieved at the installation’s individual sites. Records of Decision have been completed for all OUs and remedial action completion status has been achieved for OUs 2, 10, 11, 12 and 13. In addition, the interim remedial action referred to as OU9 has been decommissioned. OUs 4 and 5 require No Further Action and are complete as well.
Low-cost passive groundwater treatment treat-ability studies were implemented in 2007 for OUs 6 and 7 and in 2010 for OU 8. Full-scale application was implemented in 2013 (OU7 and OU8), 2014 (OU8) and 2015 (OU6). These studies have shown favorable results for the treatment of the groundwater contamination at these OUs using naturally occurring bacteria to break down contamination in the ground. Remedial action activities are ongoing at OUs 6, 7 and 8. Additional remedial actions for OU 8 are currently being assessed to enhance mitigation of the off-installation migration of the OU 8 plume.