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EPA Reaches Decision for Central Impact Area Cleanup at Camp Edwards

Release Date: 03/13/2012
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, (617) 918-1020

(Boston, Mass. – March 13, 2012) – EPA, in consultation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has decided upon a cleanup strategy for the Central Impact Area (CIA). The CIA was the largest single remaining area of unaddressed contamination on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) in the northern portion of Camp Edwards. The final Remedy Selection Plan outlines actions for both the groundwater contamination and the affiliated source areas in the soil.

A public comment period ran from July to August of 2011 after an initial public presentation was given on the proposed cleanup alternatives during an MMR Cleanup Team meeting on July 27, 2011. Comments received on the proposed cleanup were considered by EPA and are included in the CIA Decision Document.

The 330-acre Central Impact Area contained the majority of the targets used for munitions training within the larger 2200-acre Impact Area. The CIA is believed to be the primary source area for the RDX and perchlorate groundwater contamination in this area of MMR. Both chemicals are associated with the use and disposal of military munitions.

Monitoring and investigations have shown that groundwater contamination from the site is not currently threatening public or private drinking water supplies. However, without cleanup, plume modeling projected potential drinking water threats to residents between the northwest side of MMR and the Cape Cod Canal. By reducing contaminants through treatment and natural processes, removing unexploded ordnance (UXO), and preventing exposure through land-use controls, the cleanup intends to help restore the useable groundwater to its beneficial use wherever practicable by 2055.

Within approximately 56 acres of the CIA, some degree of soil and UXO removal has been completed. To date, approximately 820 known or suspected UXO items containing high explosives have been removed. However, the estimated 4,000 to 9,000 munitions items that remain in the CIA hold the potential to be a continuing source area for groundwater contamination and will be dealt with during a phased approach.

The first phase will consist of UXO clearance of an additional 30 acres over a 3 year period, followed by a second phase to remove UXO from an additional 20 acres. Both phases will employ techniques to minimize habitat destruction while maximizing the reduction of UXO, with a goal to remove 75% to 95% of the UXO within those 50 acres. The development and implementation of additional phases, if necessary, will be based on the clearance results, as well as the findings of the long-term monitoring program that will verify whether or not the groundwater is being restored as predicted.

The public is invited to participate and learn more about the environmental status of the base during MMR Cleanup Team meetings, regularly held at Building 1805, West Outer Road on Camp Edwards. The latest schedule can be seen here.

The Cleanup Decision document is available at http://www.epa.gov/region1/mmr/pdfs/497072.pdf and at the libraries in Bourne, Falmouth, and Sandwich.

MMR is a 22,000-acre property that has been used for military training activities since 1911. The base is located over an aquifer that is the sole source of drinking water for residents of Cape Cod. Two environmental cleanup programs (one implemented by the Army, the other by the Air Force) are addressing the areas of soil and groundwater contamination that have resulted from activities on site. The U.S. Air Force is addressing contamination from the Otis Air Force Base primarily in the southern portion of MMR under the Federal Superfund Program. The U.S. Army is addressing contamination at Camp Edwards in the northern portion of MMR as required by EPA under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Both cleanup programs are progressing with oversight from the EPA and the MassDEP.

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Regular public meetings (http://states.ng.mil/sites/ma/resources/erc/calendar.htm) are held on or near the MMR with representatives from the EPA, Massachusetts DEP, and the Army and Air Force cleanup programs.

EPA cleanup work at MMR (http://www.epa.gov/region1/mmr/index.html)

Learn More about the Latest EPA News & Events in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/newsevents/index.html)

Follow EPA New England on Twitter (http://twitter.com/epanewengland)

More info on EPA's Environmental Results in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/results/index.html)