Cleanup Program at
the Radford Army Ammunition Plant
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RFAAP) has a comprehensive plan
to identify, investigate, and clean up contamination resulting from
past production activities and the disposal of manufacturing waste
at the plant. Called the Installation
Action Plan (IAP), it is the key document in the
management and execution of the Installation Restoration Program
(IRP). The plan outlines the total multiyear integrated, coordinated
approach to achieving the installation's restoration goals. The
objective of the IAP is to ensure compliance with RFAAP’s Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Permit issued
by the Environmental Protection Agency, Region III (EPA) in October
2000. For each site, the plan documents restoration requirements,
the rationale for the technical approach, and corresponding financial
requirements. The plan also contains information about contaminants
of concern, response actions taken, and past milestones, as well
as possible future response actions. The IAP is updated annually
in coordination with the EPA and Virginia Department of Environmental
Quality (VDEQ). You can find the latest version of the IAP at the
RFAAP IRP Web site.
Water and soil contamination at the RFAAP are currently being
investigated and identified. The extent of the contamination remains
uncertain in many areas. Consequently, current research in and around
RFAAP focuses on gaining a clearer understanding of the problem—the
source of pollution, the natural setting (soil, geology, and groundwater
characteristics), and other details that might affect cleanup decisions.
This research will ultimately result in the best utilization of
resources for remediation activities at RFAAP.
RFAAP conducted a Facility-Wide Background Study for
two areas within the plant, the
Main Manufacturing Area (MMA) and the New
River Unit (NRU) to characterize natural soil composition. Soil
samples were collected from areas not impacted by installation activities,
analyzed, and then used to construct a facilitywide surface and
subsurface soil data set. This baseline data set will enable investigators
to analyze and characterize soil samples collected from specific
sites under investigation to determine whether contamination has
occurred. (See Environmental
Sampling fact sheet.)
Geology and Groundwater Studies
The geology under the ammunition plant is very complex due to
the intense structural deformation that characterizes the area.
The underlying rock contains frequent faulting, complex folded and
fractured bedrock, and karst areas, which are typified by abundant
sinkholes, disappearing streams, exposed rock outcrops or ledges,
and underground caverns. This geology has a tremendous effect on
the flow of groundwater underneath the arsenal property, as the
groundwater must flow through the numerous fractures, fissures,
and layers of underground rock before ultimately discharging into
the New River via many small springs and seeps.
Because of the complexity
of the hydrogeology at RFAAP, investigations into the movement of
chemical contaminants through the groundwater are ongoing. However,
existing groundwater data and related information are available
in the RFAAP Current Conditions Report. This report was used
to develop a conceptual model of the geology and hydrogeology of
the Horseshoe Area. The tasks completed to create the model include
data review, mapping, and water surveys. The report also identifies
critical data gaps; as a result, additional research has been proposed
in Work Plan Addendum 009 to address these needs.
Future Investigation Plans
In addition to the IAP, many other plans and reports have been developed
to help address RFAAP contaminated areas. For example, many of the
sampling activities required during the IRP investigation phase
are outlined in work plans under review by VDEQ and EPA.
Work Plan Addendum
(WPA) 12 was developed to address gaps in soil, surface
water, and sediment data for eight sites in the MMA and five sites
at the NRU.
Work Plan Addendum (WPA) 009 provides the details for a broad
groundwater sampling effort, which will study groundwater on larger,
regional scales, such as the Horseshoe Area.
These work plans describe:
Can I Learn More?
A lot of helpful information
can be found on the IRP Web site.
Specific questions or concerns about the IRP can be directed to the RFAAP Public Relations Officer. Contact information is located here.
Citizens interested in
the IRP can also join the RFAAP Restoration Advisory Board (RAB),
a forum for exchange of information and partnership among citizens,
the installation, and regulatory agencies. The RAB was established
in 1998 by RFAAP and local citizens. RFAAP provides information
to and solicits comments/concerns from the RAB regarding site cleanup
activities. RAB meetings occur quarterly. The schedule for this year's meeting can be found here.