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Milan Army Ammunition Plant

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Aerial photo of Milan Ammunition site

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: TN0210020582
Location: Milan, Carroll, and Gibson Counties, TN
Lat/Long: 35.867780, -088.696110
Congressional District: 08
NPL Status: Proposed: 10/15/84; Final: 07/22/87
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Continued use - an active military facility is located on site
Site Manager: Carl Froede(froede.carl@epa.gov)


Current Status

The Milan Army Ammunition Plant (MLAAP) site includes an active U.S. Army (Army) installation. The installation opened in 1941. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1987 because of contaminated ground water and soil resulting from the installation’s operations. EPA, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and the Army have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean it up to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working at or near the site. By treating ground water, monitoring the site, capping and containing contaminated soil, conducting ground water investigations, and performing required Five-Year Reviews, EPA, TDEC and the Army continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 22,540-acre site is an active military installation southeast of the Milan in western Tennessee. The installation includes many buildings and storage facilities. Rural residential and agricultural land borders the site to the north, south and east. Residential areas and the city of Milan border the site to the west and northwest. The installation began operating in 1941 to produce and store fuses, boosters and ammunition. Wastewater disposal practices resulted in contamination of ground water and soil. In 1987, EPA listed the site on the NPL. American Ordnance Systems, Inc. currently operates the installation. Its activities include loading, assembling and packing munitions as well as munitions reconditioning and demolition.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from wastewater handling practices. Primary contaminants of concern include 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and RDX, also known as cyclonite.

Ground water contamination affected the Memphis Sand Aquifer, the local public water supply. The Army worked with the City of Milan in the early 1990s to relocate the municipal drinking water well field. The Army also placed institutional controls to prohibit ground water use in contaminated areas. Contamination in ground water does not pose a threat to nearby residences and businesses.

The Army has capped and contained contaminated soil within the installation’s boundaries.

Fencing and gates control access to the site.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The Army leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight and technical support provided by EPA and TDEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on six areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include: OU-1: O-Line Ponds ground water; OU-2: O-Line Ponds soil; OU-3: Northern Boundary ground water; OU-3/4: Northern Industrial Area soil; OU-4: Region 1 ground water (Line X ground water plume); and OU-5: Southern Study Area. These OUs cover large portions of the site and contain one or more specific areas of contamination. Cleanup activities also include ground water cleanup.

View OU location map.

The Army and EPA have issued a series of cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or ROD) for the OUs at the site.

Most recently, the Army and EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) in 2012. The ESD addressed used munitions on the ground surface and underground. Following site investigations, it was determined that used munitions were not a source of contamination. No cleanup was needed for the area.

The Army was not able to carry out the cleanup for OU-5. The Army has completed a study of other cleanup alternatives and is working to issue a ROD for OU-5.  

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the RODs, ESD and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

In the early 1990s, the Army worked with the City of Milan to relocate the municipal water supply wells affected by contaminated ground water.

The Army completed construction of the pump-and-treat system for OU-1 in 1995. The system began operating at full capacity in 1998. The Army completed construction of a second pump-and-treat system in 1999 to address contamination at OU-3 and a third for OU-4 in 2002.

In 1995, the Army also completed an extension of the existing cap to address contamination at OU-2. Monitoring of the cap is ongoing. The Army removed soil from OU-3/4. Treatment is ongoing at an on-site soil composting facility.

Ground water studies are ongoing because the ground water contamination plume continues to spread. The Army is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate cleanup activities to address site-wide ground water contamination. EPA and the Army expect to decide on a preferred ground water cleanup option in 2013.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2010, found that the cleanups at OU-1, OU-2, OU-3 and OU-3/4 continue to protect people and the environment.

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

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Enforcement Activities

In 1989, EPA, the Army and TDEC signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) for the site. The FFA helps make sure that the parties will fully investigate environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the installation and undertake and complete appropriate cleanup actions. The FFA also establishes schedules and enforceable milestones for cleanup activities.

EPA initiated a dispute under the FFA with the Army and TDEC in 2008. The dispute’s resolution included an agreement to include all ground water investigations and cleanup activities under a site-wide ground water feasibility study, which will result in a final ROD for site-wide ground water.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state partner to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the site, 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 to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices and meetings. EPA staff also participates with TDEC and Army representatives on the local Remedial Activity Board. Its meetings are held in Milan.

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Future Work

Ground water studies are ongoing as part of the site-wide ground water feasibility study. EPA and the Army expect to issue the site’s feasibility study, proposed plan and final ROD in 2013.

EPA and the Army expect to begin the site’s remedial design in 2014 and complete the remedy by 2016.

EPA and the Army are also working to issue a ROD for OU-5.  

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

The Army maintains site documents and information at the locations listed below. Many of these documents are available for download from the MLAAP website. Exit Disclaimer 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

Paper copies of site documents are located at:

Milan Army Ammunition Plant
2280 Highway 104 West
Milan, TN  38358

Electronic copies of the documents are located at:

Mildred G. Fields Memorial Library
1075-A East Van Hook Street
Milan, TN  38358

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