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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
  Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont & 9 Tribal Nations
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 Site Type: Long Term/National Priorities List (NPL) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


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 Shirley; Ayer; Lancaster; Harvard,  Massachusetts
 Middlesex County, Worcester County
 Street Address: BUENA VISTA ST
 Zip Code: 01433

 EPA ID #: MA7210025154
 Site ID #: 0100966
 Site Aliases: South Post, Main Post, North Post

 Site Responsibility: Federal

 Proposed Date 07/14/1989
 Final Date 11/21/1989

Site Description
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Fort Devens (closed in 1996) is located 35 miles west of Boston. The former Fort Devens was comprised of approximately 9,280 acres divided into North, Main, and South Posts. The facility was located in the towns of Ayer and Shirley in Middlesex County, and Lancaster and Harvard in Worcester County. Massachusetts Highway 2 divides the South post from the Main Post. The Nashua River runs through the North, Main, and South Posts. The area surrounding the former Fort Devens is largely rural/residential. Two municipal drinking water wells are located within one mile of the Shepley's Hill Landfill (on the Main Post) - the McPherson water supply well (located west of the wetlands near Nonacoicus Brook) and the Devens Grove Pond Wellfield (located on the south shore of Grove pond and upgradient of the landfill).

Camp Devens was created as a temporary cantonment in 1917 for training soldiers from the New England area. In 1932, the Camp was formerly dedicated as Fort Devens and trained active duty personnel for World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. In July of 1991, the North and Main Posts of Fort Devens were slated for closure and the South Post for realignment under the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). The installation ceased to be Fort Devens on March 31, 1996 at which time the remaining Army mission was assimilated by the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (DRFTA). Fort Devens was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in November 1989. In May 2007, DRFTA was renamed Fort Devens. The closure of Fort Devens accelerated the investigations and cleanup to protect human health and the environment in a timely fashion and facilitate economic redevelopment. To date, approximately 1,080 acres has been transferred to other federal agencies and almost 3,000 acres has been transferred to the MassDevelopment, a quasi-public state finance and development authority responsible for the redevelopment of Devens. Only 150 acres of the former Fort Devens remains as leased parcels that will be transferred as cleanup ends over the next few years.

Threats and Contaminants
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The principal threats to human health and the environment are primarily groundwater, soil, and sediment contamination. Monitoring wells near Shepley's Hill Landfill (SHL)(Main Post) indicate inorganic groundwater contamination from arsenic, iron and magnesium. Plow Shop Pond and Grove Pond are not located on the former Fort Devens, but are located adjacent to and directly northeast of SHL. Sampling of sediments in Plow Shop Pond, revealed heavy inorganic contamination with the following metals: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury. In addition, sampling of the fish population in Plow Shop and Grove Pond has indicated that mercury is present in fish tissue, thus posing a threat to the recreational fishery. Off-post sources are currently being investigated as additional sources of the sediment contamination within the ponds. In 2006, the U.S. EPA completed an Expanded Site Investigation Report on the Ponds, which includes an ecological risk assessment. Other Main Post sites have contaminated ground water plumes associated with previously removed underground storage tanks/fuel depots and contaminated soils containing petroleum products and organic chemicals. The North Post site has a PCE-contaminated ground water plume associated with former parachute cleaning operations.

Cleanup Approach
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Fort Devens was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in November 1989. The BRAC Environmental Office of the Fort Devens is responsible for establishing and maintaining closure-related environmental programs with lead regulatory oversight provided by the EPA. On November 15, 1991, Fort Devens and the EPA signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) which established the procedural framework and timetable for developing, implementing, and monitoring appropriate cleanup activities at the site. Pursuant to the terms of the FFA, the Army conducted several installation-wide assessments to identify the nature and extent of contamination sources at Fort Devens. Of the 324 initially identified sites, most have either advanced to a No Further Action (NFA) decision or have Records of Decision (RODs) signed which memorialize the Army's selection, the EPA's approval, and the State's concurrence of a remediation strategy for a site.

Response Action Status
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Initial Action Of the 324 BRAC areas requiring environmental evaluations (AREE) or CERCLA sites, 236 are approved for no further actions. Several of these actions have focused on the cleanup of PCB, pesticide, VOC, and petroleum contaminated soils.

AOC 44 and 52 - Barnum Road Maintenance Yards (OU4) The Barnum Road Maintenance Yards (AOCs 44 and 52) are former vehicle maintenance yards approximately 8.8 acres in size. In 1992, the U.S. Army began an investigation to verify the presence or absence of environmental contamination and to determine whether further investigation or remediation was warranted. A final SSI Report was issued June 1993 which revealed the presence of extensive carcinogenic PAHs and petroleum product in the surface soils at the site. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in March 1995 selecting a final cleanup remedy for the area. The remedy selected included the asphalt batching of the top 2 feet of soil (deeper in areas where underground storage tanks contained oil) from across the site, redesigning the storm drainage system, laying asphalt to create a parking lot for use by redevelopers, groundwater monitoring, and the implementation of institutional controls in the form of deed restrictions to prevent exposure to contamination remaining on site. Construction of all selected remedies is complete. The soil and drainage system remedial action elements were deemed complete in July 1996. The property remains under Army ownership. The September 2005 Five Year Review confirmed that remediation and groundwater monitoring is complete, the remedy is protective of human health and the environment, and other than standard O & M requirements of the drainage system and oil/water separator, there are no other follow-up actions required. In 2008, the Army completed a SI under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) at this site to investigate whether munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) from historical training activities has impacted the site. The SI concluded that no further action for MEC was warranted at the site. In late 2009, the Army began construction of an Armed Forced Reserve Center (AFRC) Complex at this site and the adjacent National Guard property. As of the 2010 Five Year Review (September 2010), construction was ongoing. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, The AFRC will include construction of a AFRC building, maintenance shops, a multi-purpose classroom building, and a new parking area. The 2010 FYR reported that a new AFRC building located over a portion of the former AOC 44 and 52 area incorporated a vapor barrier beneath the building to alleviate any concerns with potential vapor intrusion from any impacted sub-surface soils. All site construction activities followed the provisions of a Soils Management Plan, which detailed the ROD requirements. The 2010 FYR recommended that the Army perform a post-construction inspection to ensure ROD provisions are maintained and stormwater drainage is adequate.

Shepley's Hill Landfill (OU1) In 1991, the U.S. Army began an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination. The groundwater and the adjacent pond were found to be impacted. The ROD was signed in September 1995 stipulating a final cleanup remedy that included cap improvements, long-term monitoring and the design of a pump and treat contingency remedy. The continued long-term monitoring and five year reviews recommended further evaluation of the arsenic groundwater contamination. In July 2000, the results of a supplemental groundwater investigation were issued which suggested that most of the groundwater associated with the landfill flows north and discharges mainly to a wetland north of West Main Street in the Town of Ayer. Based on available data, there is no current use of, or exposure to, groundwater migrating away from the landfill, and, therefore, no current human-health risk. Data to evaluate potential ecological risks from exposure to surface water and sediments in the wetland will be evaluated as data becomes available from this area. The September 2000 Five Year Review recommended that the Army continue its annual landfill inspections and landfill gas sampling, and semi-annual groundwater sampling with annual reporting. In addition, the 2000 FYR recommended that the contingency remedy of groundwater extraction with subsequent discharge to the Town of Ayer POTW be re-evaluated. In March 2002, the Army initiated action to execute the pump & treat contingency remedy. In 2005, the Army implemented the contingency remedy - a pump and treat system which extracts arsenic-contaminated groundwater, treats the groundwater to remove the arsenic and discharges treated effluent to the Devens wastewater facility. The Army also installed a performance monitoring network to monitor the groundwater in the area of influence of the treatment system. The 2005 Five Year Review deferred the protectiveness statement for SHL until the Army completes a Comprehensive Site Assessment (CSA) of the landfill cap, which will evaluate cap integrity concerns, and a Corrective Action Alternative Analysis (CAAA), to evaluate a final remedy for the landfill. The CSA and CAAA were slated to be completed by fall 2007, but have been delayed. In late 2006, the Army decided it would not complete the CSA/CAAA under the MCP and decided, rather, to separate the components of the CSA/CAAA effort into two efforts. The CSA was redefined as the Supplemental Groundwater and Landfill Cap Assessment for Long-Term Monitoring and Maintenance effort (SGLCA) and the Remedial Investigation, Area of Contamination 72, Plow Shop Pond effort (AOC72 RI). The SGLCA is to address elements related to the landfill characterization and cap system integrity and effectiveness and the delineation of the elevated arsenic groundwater plume that travels north of the landfill towards Nonacoicus Brook and its associated wetlands. The AOC72 RI will address the impact of the landfill on Plow Shop Pond, focusing on the Red Cove area, and will also address the Railroad Roundhouse (SA71). Both efforts will evaluate exposure pathways and risks to human health and the environment and evaluate remedial alternatives to address unacceptable risks. In replacement of the CAAA, 2 separate FS efforts will be completed. The SGLCA is to be followed by an FS that will focus on remedial alternatives to address issues identified with the performance of the OU1 remedy and to re-evaluate the OU1 remedy against other overall remedial alternatives (the Supplemental OU1 FS). The AOC72 RI is discussed further below under the Plow Shop Pond Operable Unit. The elements of the former CSA/CAAA that must be completed for the 2005 FYR follow-up actions for OU1 are the SGLCA and the Supplemental OU1 FS. Although the milestone date in the 2005 FYR anticipated the completion of the CSA in the Fall of 2007, there were significant delays and the draft report from the SGLCA was not received until December 2008. The Army completed significant supplemental investigation activities throughout 2010. The results of the supplemental investigations were incorporated into the SGLCA Addendum Report and the Draft FFS for SHL, issued in December 2010. The 2010 FYR identified the SHL remedy as protective in the short-term. However, in order to remain protective in the long-term, an updated remedy must incorporate ICs that restrict the installation of private drinking water wells throughout the impacted area and effectively meet RAOs developed under the SHL FFS to address both groundwater restoration within the impacted area and groundwater discharging to Plow Shop Pond. The 2010 FYR required that these remedy updates be addressed in 2011. The Final SGLCA Report was issued in August 2011. The Draft Final FFS for the SHL (OU1) Remedy Update (formerly CAAA) was issued September 2011, but was subsequently withdrawn. The Army and EPA continue to work towards resolution of concerns to ensure the long-term protectiveness of the OU1 remedy. The Army is under a new schedule to address these issues in 2012.

SPIA Groundwater, EOD, Hotel, and Zulu Ranges (OU3) The South Post Impact Area (SPIA) covers approximately 1,500 acres and is located within the 4,800-acre South Post section of the former Fort Devens. The SPIA is an active weapons and ordinance discharge area used by the Army, the Massachusetts National Guard, and law enforcement agencies for training purposes. The Army began investigating these areas in 1993 to determine the nature and extent of contamination associated with site activities (firing ranges, troop training, and disposal). A "No Action" ROD was signed in July 1996 that addressed contaminated groundwater, surface water, soil, and sediment at AOC 25, 26, and 27 and contaminated groundwater at AOC 41. As part of the selected remedy for the 964 acre "SPIA monitored area", the DRFTA agreed to develop and implement (1) an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan to monitor adverse affects on the ecosystem, (2) a Groundwater Monitoring Plan to evaluate/monitor levels of explosives and solvents in the groundwater, and (3) institutional controls that would prevent the development of new drinking water sources within the SPIA monitored area. Consistent with recommendations offered in the September 2000 and 2005 Five Year Reviews, current action consists of continued performance of the long-term groundwater monitoring program, annual reporting, and subsequent five-year reviews. In 2008, a revised Long-Term Monitoring Plan, covering the SPIA monitored area, was approved. Elevated levels of perchlorate and RDX compounds were identified in AOC26 groundwater in 2006. Additional AOC26 monitoring wells were installed in 2007. Additional well points and down gradient monitoring were initiated in 2009 and the Army completed an investigation regarding the perchlorate contamination and delineating the extent of contamination. In the fall of 2010, a permanent downgradient monitoring well was installed to ensure that the perchlorate and RDX were not migrating beyond the site boundaries.

AOC 43G and AOC 43J (Historic Gas Station Sites) (OU6) As part of the October 1996 ROD, a Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) remedy was selected. The remedy includes intrinsic bioremediation assessment and long-term monitoring with annual and five year site reviews. Design of the remedy began in November 1996 and was completed in June 1997. Remedial actions which include groundwater monitoring and sampling as well as the development of performance standards began in June of 1997. Results of the intrinsic remediation assessment and associated field efforts were detailed in a 1999 report which concluded that the selected remedy will effectively remediate groundwater at the site. The September 2000 Five Year Review recommended that the Army continue current remedial action activity which consists of implementing the long-term groundwater monitoring program, annual reporting, and five-year reviews. The long term monitoring program from 2000 through 2004 demonstrate that contaminant concentrations continue to decline. The 2005 Five Year Review recommended a reassessment of the Long Term Monitoring Plan, including the re-evaluation of IRA modeling assumptions/predictions, potential off-site migration of maganese, and remedial duration estimates. In 2008, a revised Long-Term Monitoring Plan, covering AOC 43G and addressing the 2005 FYR recommendations for this site, was approved. In 2006, AOC 43J was transferred. An ESD was issued in 2006 for AOC 43J to provide for the incorporation of ICs as part of the remedy. The AOC 43J parcel was bundled with other adjacent properties to provide for a large redevelopment parcel for the Bristol-Myers Squibb facility. Construction of the BMS facility began in 2008 and the facility is scheduled to begin operations in 2010. As of the 2010 FYR, construction of the BMS facility was substantially completed and no construction over the AOC 43J parcel was performed. MassDevelopment continues remedial efforts at the AOC43J property which will address the recommendations of the 2005 FYR for this site. In July 2006, MassDevelopment performed test pit investigations to evaluate soil contamination. In December 2009, MassDevelopment performed a sulfate injection pilot test. In November 2010, MassDevelopment performed a 2nd pilot test sulfate injection. The 2010 FYR indicates that the sulfate injection pilot test is to determine if enhanced intrinsic remediation will address the increasing organic concentrations in source area groundwater and ensure long-term protectiveness. MassDevelopment will be issuing a report on the pilot study performance findings and recommendations in 2011.

AOC 63AX (Former Waste Oil Underground Storage Tank) (OU10) A No Action ROD was signed in October 1997. The site has been transferred to the MassDevelopment for commercial/industrial development.

AOC 32 and 43A (Defense Reutilization Marketing Office( DRMO) and Petroleum, Oils, and Lubrication Storage Area (POL)) (OU05) In 1991, the Army began an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination. The final remedial investigation report issued in 1994 concluded that soils were contaminated with inorganic chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury; PCBs; VOCs; and petroleum products and groundwater contained VOCs and petroleum products. In 1993, a removal action was initiated at the DRMO Yard to remove leaking capacitors and PCB-contaminated scrap, and to sample the adjacent offices. A ROD was signed in February 1998 which called for the excavation and off site disposal of contaminated soils and for cleanup of groundwater by monitored natural attenuation (MNA). Design of the remedy began in February 1998 and was completed in the spring of 1999. In January 1999, an investigation was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the natural attenuation remedy. The December 2000 MNA Assessment Report concluded that natural attenuation, supplemented with long-term groundwater monitoring and establishment of institutional controls, will be an effective remedial action. AOC 32 and 43A underwent significant redevelopment in 2000. As a result, major demolition, regrading, and building/paving construction altered the site's physical setting and hydrology. All of the groundwater monitoring wells sampled as part of the MNA were destroyed and were replaced in 2001 with new wells. The September 2000 Five Year Review indicated that the remedial actions were expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon final achievement of remediation goals as specified in the ROD. Based on monitoring of the 2001 wells, only 1 well, near the AOC 32A source area under the building, continues to show exceedances of the cleanup goals. All other wells have no exceedances. The 2005 Five Year Review recommended that an updated Long Term Monitoring Plan be prepared. In 2007, EPA installed several new microwells to assist in the evaluation of the altered flow field. In 2008, a revised Long-Term Monitoring Plan, covering AOCs 32 and 43A, was approved. The Army completed in-situ chemical oxidation injections at the AOC 32 site in early 2009 in order to enhance the MNA process in the area of the former UST, where elevated levels of VOCs remain. The ISCO evaluation report was issued in June 2009. Groundwater monitoring data in 2009 and 2010 showed decreases in the VOC concentrations. Groundwater data continues to be evaluated to discern whether concentrations will continue to decrease and remain below cleanup levels. In December 2010, Army issued the Final Vapor Intrusion Technical Memo supporting that VI was not an issue at the AOC 32/43A site.

Devens Consolidation Landfill (AOCs 9,11,40,41; SAs 6,12,13) (OU2) SAs 6 and 12, and AOC 41 are located on the South Post; AOC 9 is located on the former North Post; and AOCs 11 and 40, and SA 13 are located on the former Main Post of Fort Devens. A ROD was signed in July 1999 which called for no further action at SA 6, surface debris removal with long-term monitoring at SA12 and AOC 41, and excavation, disposal (in an on-site consolidation landfill or in an off-site landfill), and institutional controls and five year reviews at AOC 9, AOC 11, SA 13, and AOC 40. These actions will protect human health and the environment, support redevelopment, and answer community concerns. On- and off- site disposal options were evaluated during the remedial design process. The decision to proceed with on-site consolidation was issued on June 30, 2000 and was chosen based on overall protection of human health and the environment, community input, and best value to the Army. Construction of the consolidation landfill began on September 28, 2000. As of September 30, 2002, approximately 330,234 cubic yards of material had been placed in the landfill; approximately 102.100 cubic yards of material, e.g. steel, wood, tires, and concrete, has been recycled; and, approximately 7,050 cubic yards of material had been shipped off site for disposal. The last shipment of waste was placed in the landfill in 2002 and landfill construction activities were completed in September 2003. The 2005 and 2010 Five Year Review concluded that all components of the ROD had been implemented and that the remedy was protective. Current remedial action activitiy consists of long-term groundwater monitoring, landfill maintenance and annual reporting.

AOC 69W (Former Fort Devens Elementary School) (OU7) AOC 69W is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of MacArthur Avenue and Antietam Street on the northern portion of what was formerly the Main Post and is the site of the former Fort Devens Elementary School which operated from 1951 until 1993. In 1994 the Army performed an investigation of the site which revealed the presence of fuel-related contamination in both soil and groundwater, attributed to the release of No. 2 heating oil which leaked from underground piping in two separate incidences; once in 1972 and again in 1978. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 to 8,000 gallons of fuel oil were released to soil from each incident. In 1997, the Army performed a removal action and excavated approximately 3,500 cuyds. of soil. A 10,000-gallon fuel oil Underground Storage Tank (UST) and the oil recovery system's 250-gallon vault and associated piping were also removed. While confirmatory sampling performed around the removed UST revealed the presence of additional contaminated soils, the soils could not be excavated without potential structural damage to the building. Because the area is paved, there is minimal potential for further migration of contaminants and future exposure. A Remedial Investigation (RI) was completed and a ROD was signed in 1999 selecting a final remedy. The remedy selected was Long Term Groundwater Monitoring with Institutional Controls. The September 2000 Five Year Review confirmed that the selected remedy is protective, and is expected to remain protective, of human health and the environment. The Interim Remedial Action Completion Report was finalized in September 2002. The 2005 Five Year Review found the remedy to be protective and, in January 2006, EPA approved the Army's demonstration of operating properly and successfully for this site. The Army transferred this site in 2007 and is continuing long term monitoring at the site. EPA and local citizens were concerned that residual soil contamination from fuel oil spills in 1972 and 1978 at the Parker Charter School might have a potential health risk to students and staff. This health risk might occur if vapors from the residual soil contamination intrude into the indoor air of the school at concentrations sufficiently high to cause an unacceptable risk. To address this concern, EPA sampled indoor air and soil gas for petroleum constituents and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in February 2008. In order to evaluate the potential for health risk in indoor air at the Parker Charter School, EPA calculated the risks for the maximum concentrations detected in this study. The results showed no unacceptable risks. The 2008 Revised LTMP supported that the remedy will meet cleanup goals within the ROD time frame. In 2009, monitoring data confirmed that off-site migration was not occurring. The 2010 FYR concluded that the remedy was protective.

AOC 57 (OU9) AOC 57 is located in an area of the former Fort Devens Main Post that historically received stormwater runoff and wastes from vehicle maintenance activities at former vehicle storage yards associated with three buildings to the north. The site is located in an area planned for transfer for industrial/trade-related development and recreation/open space. The site consists of three subsites (Area 1, Area 2, and Area 3) and includes an upland area that slopes downward to a delineated wetland area. In September 1992, an investigation was performed to determine the presence or absence of environmental contaminants at AOC 57 as a result of a February 1977 fuel oil spill. Based on the results of investigation, which revealed the presence of groundwater, soil, and sediment contaminated with oil, VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, inorganics, and PCBs, the Army proposed that a limited soil removal be conducted at Area 2. A removal action began at Area 2 in August 1994 and continued until September 1994 when it was discovered that contamination extended beyond the limits originally estimated. Approximately 1,300 cubic yards of soils was removed and the site was transferred to the RI/FS process. Following a contaminated soil removal that was performed in 1997 to address PAHs in soils, Area 1 was recommended for no further action. As a result of data obtained from the RI, a soil removal action focussing on PCBs and extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPH) in soils was performed at Area 3 in the Spring 1999. A total of 1,860 cubic yards of soils was removed. In June 2000 the Army completed a Remedial Investigation (RI) at AOC 57 Areas 2 and 3 which revealed the presence of residual contamination at both sites. In November 2000, the Army issued a Feasibility Study (FS) for AOC 57 which identified and screened potentially feasible remedial alternatives to control human health risks associated with current and future use of the site. A Proposed Plan and ROD were issued on February 23, 2001 and September 28, 2001, respectively, describing the preferred and selected remedial action for the site. The selected remedies for AOC 57 are: Area 1 - No Further Action, Area 2 - Excavation (for Possible Future Use), long term monitoring of groundwater and surface water and Institutional Controls, and, Area 3 - Excavation (to accelerate Groundwater Cleanup), long term monitoring of groundwater and surface water and Institutional Controls. An Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD), adding parameters to the monitoring program for Area 2, was finalized in March 2004. An Interim Remedial Action Completion Report was approved for the site, documenting the completion of soil excavation activities, in September 2004. The Army is continuing to monitor the site through the long term monitoring program. The 2005 Five Year Review found the remedy to be protective and recommended that the Long Term Monitoring Plan be updated, including an assessment of reducing conditions on the remedy and an assessment of contaminant migration and remedial duration. In 2008, a revised Long-Term Monitoring Plan, covering AOC 57 and addressing the 2005 FYR recommendations, was approved. The 2010 FYR concluded that the remedy remained protective. As of December 2010, the Army is in the process of completing an Operating Properly and Successfully Demonstration Report for this site. In July 2011, EPA approved the OPS Report for AOC57.

AOC 50 (Moore Army Airfield) (OU8) AOC 50 is located on the northeastern boundary of the current Devens RFTA property on the former North Post in the Town of Ayer. The AOC comprises less than 2 acres and surrounds Buildings 3803 (the former parachute shop), 3840 (the former parachute shakeout tower), 3824 (a gazebo), and 3801 (the former 10th Special Forces airplane parachute simulation building). These buildings were used by the 10th Special Forces Unit of the Army from approximately 1968 to the closure of Fort Devens in 1996. The airfield occupied approximately 211 acres of the former North Post. Currently, the airfield is closed to aircraft traffic and is used by the Massachusetts State Police for training and vehicle storage. The Devens RFTA retained approximately 20 acres of the former airfield (including most of AOC 50) for vehicle storage and maintenance. AOC 50 was identified as an area of potential concern due to the presence of two World War II vintage fueling systems: System A (used for fueling aircraft and trucks) and System B (used for fueling trucks). Releases of fuel associated with incidental spills at the former aircraft fuel pits, truck-fill stands, and railroad fuel-delivery points were considered possible sources of contamination. Fort Devens removed all of these components, as well as approximately 450 tons of contaminated soil in 1992. Other potential sources of contamination include a floor drain (and associated drywell) inside Building 3840 and an area next to Building 3801 used to store drums of PCE (used to spot clean parachutes). Based on the combined findings of the SI, UST removal, and SSI, it was determined that PCE-contaminated soil and groundwater were posing potentially unacceptable risks to human health. A soil vapor extraction (SVE) system was operated from February 1994 to July 1996 (and again in December 1998, May and June 1999, and October and November 1999) to remove PCE that was thought to be trapped in soils just above the water table (which was likely contributing to groundwater contamination). During its operation, the SVE system removed approximately 240 pounds, or 18 gallons, of PCE. Subsequent investigations identified the presence of PCE in soil both above and below the water table in the immediate vicinity of the former drywell and the former drum storage area and fuel-related compounds (primarily BTEX), in the soils near the former Fueling System B. Groundwater analyses confirmed the presence of PCE, trichloroethene(TCE), 1,2-DCE, carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA), styrene, and BTEX in an approximate 2,900 foot plume that emanates from the former drywell and extends to the Nashua River. In support of the FS, a pilot-scale test of one potential remedy, enhanced in-situ bioremediation, was completed 2001. The ROD was issued in March 2004, describing the selected remedy for the site. The selected remedy was enhanced in-situ bioremediation. The Remedial Design was completed in July 2004 and the remedial action is being implemented at this site. The 2005 Five Year Review concluded that the remedy at AOC 50 is expected to be protective upon completion. In 2007, the Army submitted the demonstration of operating properly and successfully for this site. The 2010 FYR concluded that the remedy is protective. However, the FYR recommended that the LTMP be updated to address areas of concern. The revised monitoring network should place additional focus on areas where metals mobilization is will established to confirm their attenuation within aerobic portions of the aquifer. In addition, monitoring should address areas where CVOC degradation is lagging, particularly the western ends of transects 2, 4 and 5. In June 2011, the Army issued the Draft Revised LTMP to incorporate revisions to the LTM program to evaluate the concerns noted in the 2010 FYR.

Other Contaminated Areas The U.S. Army continues to investigate several other areas located on North, Main, and South Posts. These investigations will determine whether possible contamination warrants a detailed investigation, removal actions, or long-term cleanup of these areas.

Plow Shop Pond, AOC 72 (OU11) As explained under the Shepley's Hill Landfill OU, the Army is preparing a RI at Plow Shop Pond, AOC72. The OU1 ROD deferred remedial action related to potential risks from Plow Shop Pond sediments and surface water to the Plow Shop Pond OU. As such, potential risk related to sediment and surface water contamination will be addressed under the Plow Shop Pond OU. EPA’s Expanded Site Investigation, Plow Shop Pond and Grove Pond (Gannett Fleming, August 2007) concluded that elevated levels of arsenic and manganese, exceeding standard risk thresholds, are found in Plow Shop Pond sediments, particularly in the vicinity of Red Cove, and are due to accumulation from groundwater discharging from Shepley’s Hill Landfill. The results of both the human health and ecological risk assessments completed under the ESI demonstrated unacceptable risks. Based on the ESI, EPA concluded, in its July 12, 2006 letter to the Army, that elevated arsenic in groundwater coming off of Shepley’s Hill Landfill was resulting in unacceptable human health and ecological risks to the western shore of Plow Shop Pond, particularly Red Cove. In addition, EPA issued the “Final Report, Arsenic Fate, Transport and Stability Study,” dated September 30, 2008, which was prepared by EPA’s Office of Research and Development for the Red Cove study area (a portion of Plow Shop Pond). Critical findings of the ORD Final Report include: (1) Groundwater with elevated levels of arsenic (as high as 1,000 ug/L) is discharging to Red Cove and originates from the aquifer underlying Shepley’s Hill Landfill; (2) Arsenic flux into the cove is estimated to be 20-80 g/d; (3) The discharge of groundwater with elevated levels of arsenic has resulted in the accumulation of arsenic in sediment. Arsenic levels in sediment are as high as 8,600 mg/kg; (4) The existing groundwater extraction and treatment system does not capture the high-arsenic groundwater that is discharging to Red Cove; (5) Remediation of existing contaminated sediments within Red Cove will have limited long-term effectiveness without remediation of the arsenic-contaminated groundwater discharging into the cove. The Army completed AOC 72 RI field work in 2009 and issued the Draft AOC72 RI in March 2010. In December 2010, the Army issued a Revised Draft RI. The RI and follow-on actions will address both the Red Cove area and contaminated sediments adjacent to the Railroad Roundhouse (RRRH), SA71. Army issued the Draft Final RI in March 2011 and EPA issued a conditional concurrence letter in May 2011. Army is preparing to address contaminated sediments through a non-time-critical removal action. Army issued a Draft EE/CA in July 2011 and a Draft Final in December 2011. Army is planning to remove contaminated sediments from the RRRH area in 2012 and remove sediments from the Red Cove area is 2013.

Fomer Grant Housing Area and 37 MM Impact Area (OU12) The Grant HA and Impact Area are included in property that was transferred to MassDevelopment in May 1996 and August 1999, respectively, and are planned for future redevelopment (i.e., Grant HA - Residential reuse, Impact Area - restricted reuse). The Grant HA and Impact Area are located within the Main Post. While portions of both the Grant HA and the Impact Area have been the subject(s) of removal actions for hazardous substances, the ROD addresses only those hazards and remedial actions associated with the presence of Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) as Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). Historically, these areas were used for military training activities, including as a 37-mm anti-tank range, and past investigation has located UXO. Removal actions have occurred at each area to remove remnant UXO. However, though the methods used to investigate the presence of UXO in each area used state-of-the-art technology, the technology does not guarantee 100% identification of remnant UXO. Therefore, there remains a potential for UXO to exist at these areas. Even the existence of one UXO could present a physical (detonation) hazard. The ROD issued in September 2009 is designed to reduce that hazard. The remedy is Land Use Controls for both the Grant HA and the Impact Area. Land Use Controls at the Grant HA are addressed through affirmative measures including: Public education via ongoing periodic distribution of educational materials and development of a web-based visual and audio media. Deed Notice: MassDevelopment will insert a Section into subsequent deeds for the property that will provide supplemental notice of the potential presence of UXO at the property. For the Impact Area, LUCs are much more restrictive and are addressed through institutional controls, access restrictions, affirmative measures, and prohibitive directives: Institutional controls to be implemented through a Grant of Environmental Restrictions and Easements (GERE). Access controls to include the use of signage and either fencing and/or vegetative barrier to restrict public access to the area. Public education via ongoing periodic distribution of educational materials, development of a web-based visual and audio media, and signage at the site. Prohibitive directives to include restrictions on all ground intrusive activities. LUCs are to be implemented through a Land Use Control Implementation Plan (LUCIP). In September 2010, the Army issued the Revised Draft LUCIP for the Grant HA and 37 MM Impact Area. In May 2011, the Army issued the Final LUCIP. LUC elements will be implemented and documentation of completion of the LUC requirements is expected in 2012.

Enforcement HighlightsUntil the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) listing in 1991, Fort Devens was participating in the Installation Restoration Program (IRP), a specially funded program established in 1978 by the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify, investigate, and control the migration of hazardous contaminants at military and other DOD facilities. Since 1991, Fort Devens has been operating under the BRAC cleanup plan, which is the separately funded counterpart to the IRP for installations undergoing realignment and closure. The Army and EPA signed a Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) in May of 1991, which outlines the legal framework for the cleanup.

Environmental Progress
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The removal actions described above have reduced the potential for risk to people and the environment at the Fort Devens site while additional cleanup activities are being planned. Several of these actions have focused on the cleanup of PCB, pesticide, VOC, and petroleum contaminated soils.

Current Site Status
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Fort Devens was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in November 1989. The closure of Fort Devens in March 1996 accelerated the investigations and cleanup of the 324 contaminated sites initially identified on the former Army installation. To date, most have either advanced to a No Further Action (NFA) decision or have RODs signed, memorializing a remedial action strategy for the site. All known immediate hazards have been addressed through either removal actions or earlier remedial actions. Except for AOC72, all sites designated as "operable units" at Devens have RODs in place. The first Five Year Review for the entire installation was performed in September 2000 which concluded that all remedial actions in place are protective of human health and the environment. The second Five Year Review was completed in September 2005 and concluded that all remedies were protective or expected to be protective upon completion, except for SHL. The protectiveness statement for SHL was deferred until the completion of the CSA/CAAA. The CSA/CAAA has been renamed and this work is still ongoing. The 2010 Five Year Review concluded that the SHL remedy was protective in the short-term, but that the remedy must be updated to ensure long-term protectiveness. The Army is working under an FFA schedule to address the remedy deficiencies. As of 2011, approximately 1,080 acres of the former military base have been transferred to other federal agencies and almost 3,000 acres has been transferred to MassDevelopment. Only approximately 150 acres of the former Fort Devens remains as leased parcels that will be transferred as the remaining remedial actions are implemented over the next few years.

Site Photos
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Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Reports and Studies:
Five Year Review Report, September 29, 2000 (1561KB)  
Second Five Year Review Report, September 29, 2005 (36 MB)  
Expanded Site Investigation Report, May 2006 (57.3 MB)  
Final Expanded Site Investigation Report, August 2006 (32.0 MB)  
Site Reuse Profile, November 2006 (390 KB)  
Final Report, Arsenic Fate, Transport and Stability Study, Groundwater, Surface Water, Soil and Sediment Investigation, September 30, 2008 (5.6MB)  
2008 Monitoring Update, Arsenic Fate, Transport and Stability Study, Groundwater, Surface Water, Soil and Sediment Investigation, June 01, 2009 (1.07 MB)  
Third Five Year Review Report, September 27, 2010 (67.6 MB)  
Final Shepley's Hill Bedrock Investigation (BI), July 2012 (24.2 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Record of Decision for Area of Concern 50 (OU08) March 31, 2004 (4.21 MB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 1, April 20, 2005 (738 KB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 6, June 15, 2006 (950 KB)  
Record of Decision for Grant Housing Area and 37 MM Impact Area, September 28, 2009 (6.0 MB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 1, Shepley's Hill Landfill, Land Use Controls to Restrict Groundwater Use, January 15, 2014 (7.32 MB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 12, Grant Housing Area and 37-MM Impact Area, September 30, 2014 (4.42 MB)  

Other Links:
NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
Site Progress Profile  
Superfund Redevelopment Case Study  
Record of Decision (ROD) for Operable Unit 1, Shepley's Hill Landfill, September 26, 1995 ( 5.82 MB)  
Record of Decision for the South Post Impact Area and Area of Contamination 41 Groundwater and Areas of Contamination 25, 26, and 27 (OU03) July 5, 1996 (2.19 MB))  
Record of Decision for Area of Contamination 63AX, Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (OU10) September 29, 1997 (2.21 MB)   
Record of Decision for the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office Yard (AOC 32) and Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants Storage Area (AOC 43A) (OU05) February 18, 1998 (2.53 MB)  

Site Repositories
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The Fort Devens Installation Library and Public Libraries of Ayer, Harvard, Lancaster, and Shirley.

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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Christine Williams
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: OSRR07-3
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1384
E-Mail Address: williams.christine@epa.gov

EPA Remedial Project Manager #2: Laurie O'Connor
Site Responsibilities:
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: OSRR07-3
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1605
E-Mail Address: oconnor.laurie@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Pamela Harting-Barrat
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: ORA20-1
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1318
E-Mail Address: harting-barrat.pamela@epa.gov

State Agency Contact: David Chaffin, MassDEP
Address: One Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108
Phone #: 617-348-4005
E-Mail Address: david. chaffin@state.ma.us


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Last updated on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/devens