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Anniston Army Depot

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SIA cleanup activities: OU-2, Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) # 12 – Facility 414 Old Lagoons

- Additional Site Photos

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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: AL3210020027
Location: Anniston, Calhoun County, AL
Lat/Long: 33.659430, -085.969430
Congressional District: 03
NPL Status: Proposed: 10/15/84; Final: 03/13/89
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities have started
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Active military facility
Site Manager: Michelle Thornton (thornton.michelle@epa.gov)


Current Status

The Anniston Army Depot (the Depot) is an active U.S. Army (Army) installation. The installation provides munitions storage and refurbishment, testing and decommissioning of combat vehicles and various types of ordnance. In the past, operations at the Depot generated solid and liquid wastes that contaminated soil and ground water. EPA placed a portion of the Depot on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. In 1990, EPA and the Army agreed to address the entire Depot under the Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) programs. The Army, EPA and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the Depot in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. By cleaning up and monitoring the Depot’s soil and ground water, enforcing land use controls, and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, the Army, EPA and ADEM continue to protect people and the environment from contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 15,200-acre installation is located in Calhoun County, Alabama, 10 miles west of Anniston. The northern side of the Depot is the Pelham Range portion of the Fort McClellan Military Reservation. The central and northern portions of the Depot span over 13,000 acres and serve as an ammunition storage area. The southern side of the Depot is the Southeastern Industrial Area (SIA), a 600-acre active industrial operations area. The SIA contains more than 50 buildings and a vehicle test track.

Approximately 3,400 people work at the Depot. Fences and guards control access. Land use surrounding the installation is mostly residential. Surface water within the SIA drains into Dry Creek, which flows into Choccolocco Creek, a tributary of the Coosa River. Coldwater Spring is located next to Dry Creek, about one mile south of the Depot boundary. The spring is the main source of drinking water for Calhoun County. Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board currently supplies water to the Depot by pipeline.

Operators disposed of wastes generated at the Depot in trenches, lagoons, landfills or other holding vessels from the 1940s through the late 1970s. Most of the waste came from the SIA. In 1989, EPA listed the SIA on the NPL. A 1990 Federal Facilities Agreement integrated the Army's RCRA and Superfund program requirements for the entire Depot.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soils that could potentially harm people in the area. Contaminants of concern include antimony, chromium, lead, thallium and trichloroethylene.

To address potential risks associated with contamination, the Army has put land use controls in place that prohibit the installation of drinking water wells in the area and prevent exposure to contaminated soils. The Army also monitors private ground water wells included in a private well monitoring network, and takes appropriate steps in case contaminant levels are above federal drinking water quality standards.

To address potential risks associated with contamination, the Army has put land use controls in place that prohibit the installation of drinking water wells in the area and prevent exposure to contaminated soils. The Army also monitors private ground water wells included in a private well monitoring network, and takes appropriate steps in case contaminant levels are above federal drinking water quality standards.

As part of an ongoing SIA ground water investigation, the Army has also completed a private well inventory to locate well owners whose wells supply a primary drinking water source. A private well next to the SIA used to supply a commercial catfish pond had volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination above federal drinking water standards. The Army purchased the catfish pond property in 2007. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry later issued a study finding that people who consumed fish from the former pond were unlikely to experience harmful health effects.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The Army leads the investigation and cleanup of the site, with oversight provided by EPA and ADEM.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on five areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These OUs refer to distinct areas of the Depot:

View OU Location Map (PDF) (1 pg, 400K, About PDF).

The Army and EPA have issued a series of cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or RODs) for OUs 1-3. Cleanup activities selected in the 1991 interim ROD for OU-1 (SIA ground water) include the pumping and treatment of contaminated ground water. Cleanup activities selected in the 2008 ROD for OU-2 (SIA soil) include digging up or capping contaminated soil and using land use controls. Cleanup activities selected in the 2006 ROD for OU-3 (Ammunition Storage Area) include digging up and treating contaminated soils, using monitored natural attenuation for ground water contamination, and applying land use controls.

The Army and EPA will issue RODs for OU-4 (Military Munitions Response Program) and OU-5 (Western Industrial Area) in the future.

Summaries of selected cleanup approaches are available online in site RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

Over the years, the Army has initiated RCRA and Superfund-related actions that have addressed contamination and disposal issues at the Depot. These actions have included:

View SIA cleanup photos.

The Army continues to capture and treat contaminated ground water using an upgraded on-site ground water interception system and an air-stripping treatment system at the Krebs Water Treatment Plant. The Army is also addressing contaminated fractured bedrock. The Army also plans to use specialized technologies to treat areas where it has identified sources of dense nonaqueous phase liquid.

The Depot’s 2010 Five-Year Review evaluated the cleanup approaches used for OU-1, OU-2 and OU-3. The review found that the cleanup approach for OU-2 and OU-3 continues to protect people and the environment from remaining site contamination. The review found that the cleanup approach for OU-1 was not successfully treating OU-1ground water contamination. High levels of ground water contamination remain underneath the Depot and low levels of ground water contamination continue spread beyond the Depot boundary. While ground water treatment continues, the Army is now evaluating different ground water cleanup options to identify a more effective alternative approach.

Cooperative Cleanup and Research Efforts

In 2000, the Army worked with the local municipal water supply to install five air-stripping towers. The Army paid for the construction of the towers and the municipal water provider pays for the towers’ operation. Operators use the towers to remove VOCs in ground water. Plant operators now treat all water in Coldwater Spring before supplying water to the public. Treated water at the plant does not contain harmful levels of VOCs.

A multi-agency task force, made up of representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ADEM, the State of Alabama’s Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA, performs studies related to ground water toxicity levels at the Depot as part of efforts to protect local wildlife. The task force is working to protect the Pygmy Sculpin, a fish native to Alabama that only lives in the Coldwater Spring area. The Army and EPA will incorporate the task force’s studies into a future cleanup plan. 

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.

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Enforcement Activities

For many years, EPA has been working with its federal and state partners to clean up the Depot. In 1990, the Army signed a three-party Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) with EPA and ADEM. The FFA helps make sure that the parties fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the installation and undertake and complete appropriate cleanup actions.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state and federal partners to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the Depot, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Depot to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices and meetings.

The Depot also has a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) composed of members of the community and representatives from the Depot and agencies. The RAB serves as a forum for members to discuss and provide input on environmental contamination and restoration activities.

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Future Work

The Army is continuing ground water treatment while also evaluating alternative ground water treatment approaches.

The Army and EPA will issue RODs for OU-1, OU-4 and OU-5 in the future.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2010 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2015. 

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Additional Information

EPA keeps additional site documents and information in site information repositories at the locations below. EPA also posts site documents, when available, on EPA’s CERCLIS Site Profile page. For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

Site Repository

Anniston Army Depot
7 Frankford Avenue, Building 199
Anniston, AL  36201

Anniston Main Library
108 East 10th Street
Anniston, AL  36201

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