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EPA Reaches Cleanup Decision for J2 Range and Groundwater Plumes at Camp Edwards

Release Date: 11/07/2013
Contact Information: Kate Renahan, (617) 918-1491

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 7, 2013) – EPA, in consultation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has reached a final cleanup strategy for the “J2 Range” and its two affiliated “Northern and Eastern” groundwater plumes. The final cleanup plan outlines actions to address both groundwater contamination and affiliated source areas in the soil. One plume and multiple soil areas on Camp Edwards await final cleanup decisions.

The J2 Range is in the northern portion of Camp Edwards on Joint Base Cape Cod (formerly Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). The cleanup decision is part of a final “Remedy Selection Plan” developed after years of careful evaluation, coordination and public review and input. A public comment period ran from July to Aug. 2013. Comments received on the proposed cleanup were considered by EPA and are included in the J2 Range Decision Document. The selected cleanup action includes focused extraction and continued monitoring of the natural reduction of contaminates in groundwater, land use controls and ongoing sampling to verify all sources of contamination have been addressed and that adequate measures ensure protection of human health.

Military training, munitions testing, and munitions disposal all occurred in the J2 Range, located in the southeastern corner of Camp Edwards. Small arms training occurred from the 1930s through the late-1980s. From the 1950s through the late 1980s, the area was used for weapons testing. The associated explosives, propellants, and unexploded ordnance (UXO) left in the soil became the source area for contamination by RDX and perchlorate in the Northern and Eastern groundwater plumes. The Northern plume is located entirely on-base, and the Eastern plume extends slightly off-base into Forestdale.

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 the Upper Cape Cod Regional Water Supply Cooperative wells. By reducing contaminants through treatment and natural processes, verifying source removal is complete, and preventing exposure through land-use controls, the cleanup intends to help restore the useable groundwater to its beneficial use wherever practicable by 2027.

Approximately 21,600 munitions containing high explosives were also removed as a result of the soil and UXO removal actions. In addition, approximately 11,100 munitions containing small quantities of explosives were removed along with 114,000 pounds of range debris.

These targeted removals of soil and munitions are believed to have removed most of the items posing as active sources of groundwater contamination. A confirmatory soil sampling and geophysical investigation program will be conducted to verify if there is any residual contamination remaining at several locations. A work plan, which has been approved by EPA and MassDEP, will be implemented as part of the remedy.

Joint Base Cape Cod (formerly MMR) is a 22,000-acre property that has been used for military training activities since 1911. The base is located over a sole source aquifer that provides 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 fuel spills and other past activities on site. The U.S. Air Force is addressing contamination from activity at the Otis Air Force Base 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 under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Both cleanup programs are progressing with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

More information:

- The Cleanup Decision document (http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/otis/548109.pdf) is available online or at the libraries in Bourne, Falmouth, and Sandwich.

- The public is invited to participate in monthly public meetings with representatives from the EPA, MA DEP, and the Army and Air Force cleanup programs. Monthly meetings are regularly held at Building 1805, West Outer Road on Camp Edwards (http://states.ng.mil/sites/ma/resources/erc/calendar.htm).

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

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