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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base

EPA #: CA2170023533

State: California(CA)

County: San Diego

City: Camp Pendleton

Congressional District: 48

Other Names: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Final

Proposed Date: 07/14/89

Final Date: 11/21/89

Deleted Date:

The Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base site covers 125,000 acres in San Diego County, California. The base provides housing, training, logistical and administrative support for the Fleet Marine Force units. Past disposal practices have contaminated the groundwater and soil. In an initial investigation, the Marine Corps found nine areas of contamination. Waste generation operations at this site include maintenance and repair of vehicles (trucks, tanks, and aircraft); landfill operations; waste disposal areas, such as scrap yards; and fire fighting drill areas. The base contains wetlands, streams, and rivers which feed into the Pacific Ocean. This land is the only remaining undeveloped area between Los Angeles and San Diego.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater
  • Soil and Sludges
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area

Groundwater and soils are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), spent oils, fuels, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, metals and herbicides. Though groundwater provides drinking water to the entire installation, the current drinking water supply is within drinking water standards.

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Who is Involved

This site is being addressed through Federal actions.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

The site is being addressed in four long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of soils; landfills, surface impoundments, and groundwater; other soils and groundwater; and remaining areas.

Site Studies

Group A (OU#1): In 1990, the Marine Corps began an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination of the soil and groundwater at six subsites where data were already available. The investigations were completed in the fall of 1993, and final cleanup measures started in mid 1996. The OU#1 Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in 1995 and included institutional controls and monitoring for Site 9. The remaining sites called for no further action.

Site Studies

Group B (OU#2): Landfills, Surface Impoundments, and Groundwater: In 1990, the Marine Corps began an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination in the landfills, surface impoundments, and groundwater. The OU#2 ROD was completed in 1997. The surface impoundments were included as no further action sites. The groundwater sites were deferred to OU#4 and the Site 7 landfill was included as part of OU#3. The landfill is capped as part the OU#3 remedial action.

Site Studies

Group C (OU#3): Other Soils and Groundwater: In 1990, the Marine Corps began an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination of soils and groundwater on the base located in the Santa Margarita watershed, where data was not yet available. The investigation was completed in 1996, and the ROD was signed on February 11, 1999. The remedy selected was excavation and disposal at an on-base landfill that was designated as a Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU). The remedial action was completed in 2002. A methane capture system for the site is currently being constructed. The site has also been chosen as the location for a solar panel array to generate energy for several on-base projects, including powering the methane recovery system. An Explanation of Significant Differences was completed in 2008 to cover the work .

Site Studies

OU#4: Remaining Areas: An investigation of the nature and extent of soil and groundwater contamination in subsites outside the Santa Margarita watershed on the base has been completed. The ROD was signed in June 2007. Soils removal has begun and several sites have been cleaned. Remedial Action Completion Reports were completed in 2010.

Site Studies

OU#5: The OU-5 ROD contains Sites 1D, 1A1, 21, 1111, 6A & 13 . The OU is comprised of sites which required a greater level of cleanup funding than previously proposed or were uncompleted when Site 7 was pre-maturely closed. The ROD was signed in 2007 and soils removal has begun. Site 1-D has encountered unexpected groundwater not contemplated in the ROD and a ROD amendment is being prepared by the Navy. Soils remediation at the site will be ongoing.

Camp Pendleton is participating in the Installation Restoration Program, a specially funded program established by the Department of Defense (DOD) in 1978 to identify, investigate, and control the migration of hazardous contaminants at military and other DOD facilities. It is not a closing base, but a growing base. At the same time, the Marine Corps is maintaining biodiversity at the site.

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Cleanup Results to Date

In December 1995, 14,000 cubic yards of soil containing trichloroethane (TCE) and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) was removed from a former fire-fighting drill field. The TPH contaminated soil was treated through bioremediation and the TCE contaminated soil was removed and disposed of at an off-site landfill. In January 1997, approximately 12,000 cubic yards of soil containing organochlorine pesticides (maximum of 140 ppm DDT and 1280 ppm DDD) was removed from a former pesticide disposal area--Site 3. The soil was stabilized at an on-site treatment facility and disposed of at an on-site landfill. Thirty-two 55 gallon drums of material containing pesticide and medical waste were also removed and disposed of off-site. In January 1997, approximately 25,000 cubic yards of soil containing pesticides, metals, and PAHs was removed from Site 6 and stabilized at an on-site treatment facility and disposed of at an on-site landfill. In February 2007, Site 1111 was excavated to remove drums containing pesticides and solvents. Groundwater was removed from the excavation, treated on site and removed form the facility. The excavation was continued until all soils were clean. Four new monitoring wells were installed and will be monitored to assess if further groundwater remediation is necessary.

In 2002, the Marine Corps completed construction of a landfill cap for a 28 acre class III landfill which operated from 1946 to 1970. The Marine Corps followed EPA's presumptive remedy guidelines for landfill caps with oversight from EPA under the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA). Construction began in April 1997. The landfill was designated as a CAMU as part of the OU#3 ROD.

The Five Year Review Report completed in August 28, 2009 concluded that:

  • Based on the results of the Five-Year Review process, remedies that have not yet been completed, but are still in the construction phase for IR Sites 1A (OU-3), 1D and 30 (OU-4), and 1A-1 and 1H (OU-5), are expected to be protective upon completion and in the interim, exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being managed.
  • The remedy for IR Site 7 was found to be protective of both human health and the environment; however, the Methane levels in compliance gas monitoring probe GP-9 continue to be near the 5 percent by volume State criterion.

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    Potentially Responsible Parties

    Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.

    Online information about the PRPs for the site is not yet available.

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    Documents and Reports

    Show details for Records of DecisionRecords of Decision
    Show details for Technical DocumentsTechnical Documents

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    Community Involvement

    Public Meetings: The base maintains its community involvement program with respect to its clean-up activities, including holding public comment meetings.

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    Public Information Repositories

    The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

    Oceanside Public Library
    330 North Hill Street
    Oceanside, CA 92054

    The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

    Superfund Records Center

    Mail Stop SFD-7C

    95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

    San Francisco, CA 94105

    (415) 820-4700

    Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

    Additional Links

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    EPA Site Manager
    Martin Hausladen
    Mail Code SFD83
    75 Hawthorne Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
    Viola Cooper
    Mail Code SFD63
    75 Hawthorne Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    EPA Public Information Center
    State Contact
    Tayseer Mahmoud
    5706 Corporate Avenue
    Cypress, CA 90630
    PRP Contact
    Theresa Morley
    Department of the Navy
    1220 Pacific Highway
    San Diego, CA 92132
    Community Contact
    Other Contacts
    After Hours (Emergency Response)
    US EPA
    (800) 424-8802

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