Thursday, June 19, 2014

Plan for the Groundwater Cleanup at Quantico

The Marine Corps Combat Development Command (Base at Quantico) is inviting community residents to a public meeting on June 25, 2014 to discuss the plans for the proposed groundwater cleanup for an area east of Bauer Road within the Mainside of the Base at Quantico along the Potomac River. The area to be cleaned up is designated Solid Waste Management Unit M-13 (SWMU M-13)– Building 2113 Underground Tank Loading/Unloading Area. The public meeting will be held next Wednesday (June 25, 2014) at the Clubs at Quantico, Marine Corps Base Quantico, 3017 Russell Road, Quantico VA from 7-8:30 p.m. to discuss the Proposed Plan for SWMU M-13 – Building 2113 Underground Tank Loading/Unloading Area. The public comment period for this plan began on May 25, 2014 and ends July 8, 2014. The public may comment during the public meeting and/or may send written comments postmarked no later than July 8, 2014.

SWMU M-13 is the former concrete pad, sump, associated underground piping and loading/unloading area that serviced the Building 2113 underground storage tanks. The tanks were part of a fuel supply system for the heating plant located at Building 2113. All tanks have been removed or closed in place. A tank that is closed in place is one where the contents of the tank are removed, the tank cleaned and the wash water removed then the tank is filled with concrete. The area of contaminated groundwater is located approximately 75 feet south of Building 2113. Building 69, a former motor pool, and Building 5108, a flammable materials storage shed, are also located in close proximity to SWMU M-13.

The sight investigation and remediation identified groundwater contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds centered in the vicinity of Building 5108 at concentrations that exceed the EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL) for the solvents of concern and requires remediation to reduce future potential risks associated with human exposure to groundwater. The groundwater contamination from chlorinated solvents is believed to be a result of former motor pool repair and maintenance activities and shed chemical storage activities and not the actual SWMU (tank unloading/loading area activities) based on the location of the contamination and shallow depth of the contamination plume. Chlorinate solvents are used for a wide variety of commercial and industrial purposes, including degreasers, cleaning solutions, paint thinners, pesticides, resins, glues, and a host of other mixing and thinning solutions. Their chlorine-containing chemical structure helps them: to efficiently dissolve organic materials like greases.

Several remediation alternatives were evaluated for this site. The alternative proposed by the Navy consists of a combination of in-situ enhanced bioremediation, long-term monitoring of groundwater and land use controls to prevent potential unacceptable exposures to groundwater. Essentially, helping nature breakdown the contamination and making sure that people do not use the contaminated groundwater while the contamination clears up. The Navy has also requested the flexibility to stop groundwater treatment if monitoring data, evaluated through trend and statistical analysis, determines that the time frame for achieving unrestricted use/unrestricted exposure will not be reached within 10 years. If this determination is made, a contingency remedy of groundwater monitoring and land use controls will be implemented as the final remedy and nature will be allowed to take care of the problem.

This site is located within the coastal plain geological province. Natural attenuation of the contamination will probably work eventually as long as the sources of the contamination have been removed. I question the accuracy of modeling of groundwater systems and using statistical analysis. Groundwater models have not been adequately modeled to reliably predict natural attenuation. I believe it is essential to continue monitoring the groundwater after the MCL has been achieved. Confirmation sampling programs are rarely done at Superfund sites and contamination levels can rebound and should be tracked periodically over the coming decades. The proposal is broadly written, but essentially is letting nature dilute and move the contaminants out into the Potomac, doing a risk analysis to ensure that there is not significant risk for human exposure and then confirmation sampling.

The Marine Base at Quantico is located in Quantico, Virginia, 35 miles south of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. The base at Quantico is huge covering approximately 56,000 acres in southern Prince William County, northern Stafford County, and eastern Fauquier County.

The Marine Base at Quantico was first established in 1917 on 5,300 acres. During World War II the base was expanded to the west of Route 1 adding another 50,985 acres of land. Like all military bases much of the land was used for training, housing, training, ordnance disposal and vehicle repair, maintenance and fueling operations. Back in 1988 the Navy identified five areas of the base that were potentially contaminated by using historical records. These areas included base landfills, the motor pool and fueling areas, fuel storage areas, and pesticide burial areas.

Ultimately, the Marine Base at Quantico was listed on the National Priority List for Superfund on June 30, 1994. Seven areas or as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, prefers to call them operating units, have been addressed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund. Since the 1990’s the Department of the Navy has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, VADEQ, to remediate the contamination at the Marine base at Quantico, bring base current operations incompliance with environmental regulations and maintain base operations according to recommended hazardous material storage best practices.
Solid Waste Management Unit M-13, Building 2113 had an underground storage tank used to store hazardous waste. The tank is underground and has a capacity of 100,000 to 200,000 gallons. The environmental study of the unit reported that the tank was used to store/dispose of used oils, strippers, thinners, and other halogenated solvents which are hazardous wastes as defined under the law. The Base at Quantico did not have good records, the start-up date for this tank is unknown, and it might have once been a fuel tank for the heating plant; however it was in operation as a hazardous waste disposal tank in of July 1988. The contents of the tank were removed and properly disposed of and the contamination with chlorinated solvents is above the base of the tank and believe to be from other sources.

Comments can be sent to:
NREA Branch, B 046
Attn: Donna Heric, Acting Remediation Program Manager
Marine Corps Base
3049 Bordelon St.
Quantico, Virginia 22134-5001
Phone: 703-432-0521
Fax: 703-784-4953

In case you'd rather honor a hero than hear about hazardous waste, President Obama will award retired Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in a White House ceremony today, June 19. 2014. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, is scheduled to present the Medal of Honor flag to Cpl. Kyle Carpenter in a ceremony June 20 at 10 a.m. at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. 

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