Naval Air Station Pensacola
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: FL9170024567
Location: Pensacola, Escambia County, FL
Lat/Long: 30.357220, -087.283050
Congressional District: 01
NPL Status: Proposed: 07/14/89; Final: 11/21/89
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Soil, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities have started
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – a U.S. Navy air station is located on site
Site Manager: Tim Woolheater (email@example.com)
Current Site Status
Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola is an active U.S. Navy (Navy) installation. The installation provides facilities, service and support for the operation and maintenance of the Navy’s naval weapons and aircraft. In the past, operations at NAS Pensacola generated wastes that contaminated ground and surface water, sediments and soil. EPA placed the installation on the National Priorities List (NPL) of contaminated sites in 1989. The Navy is addressing the contamination in cooperation with EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The Navy and EPA have issued cleanup plans (Records of Decision, or RODs) for nearly all portions of NAS Pensacola. The installation's contamination does not threaten people living and working near the site. By enforcing land use controls, undertaking Five-Year Reviews and working to complete the steps necessary to clean up remaining parts of the installation, the Navy, EPA and FDEP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.
Site Location and Background
NAS Pensacola occupies 5,900 acres on a peninsula in southern Escambia County, a few miles southwest of Pensacola in western Florida. Bayou Grande borders the peninsula to the north and Pensacola Bay borders the site to the south. Currently, land uses at NAS Pensacola include military housing, training and support facilities as well as a large industrial complex for the repair and refurbishment of aircraft engines and frames. The western end of the installation includes an airfield (Forrest Sherman Field) and undeveloped forest land. A bayou, bay and forested land surrounds most parts of the installation.
The Navy first began operations in the Pensacola area in 1825, when the federal government built a naval yard on Pensacola Bay. In 1914, the naval yard became home to the Navy’s first permanent air station. Since that time, NAS Pensacola has served as the primary training base for naval aviators. Maintenance activities have generated a variety of waste materials, including waste oils and solvents, paints, electroplating wastes, radium paint waste and insecticides.
In 1989, EPA placed the installation on the NPL.
Threats and Contaminants
Site investigations found contamination in ground water, surface water, sediments and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Investigators identified volatile organic compounds in monitoring wells and heavy metals in surface water and sediments. Investigators also identified soils contaminated with arsenic, dieldrin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), waste tar and heavy metals, including lead and cadmium.
The Navy has contained all ground water and soil contamination.
Contamination at the installation is not a threat to local residents and businesses (i.e., human exposure is under control).
Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight
The Navy leads the investigation and cleanup of the site, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP.
The Navy must fulfill the regulatory obligations associated with the installation’s NPL listing. The Navy must also satisfy the ongoing requirements of a state-issued Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit. This permit is for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous materials and waste and the investigation and cleanup of releases of hazardous waste and/or materials from solid waste management units, or SWMUs, at NAS Pensacola.
Site Cleanup Plan
Investigations and cleanup activities have focused on sites and operable units, or OUs. The Navy and EPA have identified about 50 sites and organized them into a smaller number of OUs. OU-1, for example, refers to an 85-acre inactive sanitary landfill.
The Navy has selected cleanup plans for 42 of the installation’s sites. The Navy and EPA have issued 11 cleanup decisions (Records of Decision, or RODs). Many of these cleanup decisions do not require cleanup action.
In 2010, the Navy and EPA issued their most recent cleanup plan. The ROD was for soil and ground water at Site 43, the Demolition Debris Disposal Area. Cleanup activities selected in the plan included:
- Limiting removal of surface and below-ground soil with contaminant of concern (COC) levels greater than FDEP industrial soil cleanup standards.
- Disposing of removed soil at an off-site permitted landfill after off-site treatment, if required.
- Monitoring of ground water to evaluate changes in lead levels and the possible spread of ground water contamination for one year.
- Using land use controls.
The Navy has conducted cleanup actions at the installation since 1998. Actions have included the removal of contaminated soils, installation of a ground water interception system, and installation of ground water wells connected to a wastewater treatment system.The installation’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2013, evaluated cleanup actions for OU-1 (Site 1, Sanitary Landfill), OU-2 (North Chevalier Sites), OU-3 (Pensacola Bay), OU-4 (Site 15, Area Pesticide Rinsate Disposal), OU-10, (Wastewater Treatment Plant), OU-11 (Site 38, Facility Hazardous Waste Storage), OU-13 (Site 24, Public Works Center, DDT Mixing Area) and OU-18 (Demolition Debris and Disposal Area). The remedies implemented at OU 1, 2, 4, 10, and 11, are protective of human health and the environment in the short-term. Exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks have been controlled through source removal actions, where appropriate, and implementation of Land Use Controls (LUCs) until long-term monitoring actions demonstrate that cleanup goals have been met. The remedies at these sites have certain changes that are indicated in the review but are expected to be protective in the long-term. At OU 18, the remedy is currently being implemented and will be protective of human health and the environment once the remedy has been completed. The OU 13 remedy has been implemented and is currently being monitored and since the land use controls are in place, the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. The OU 3 protectiveness determination is being deferred until the recommended actions in the Five-Year Review report are implemented and evaluated during the next five-year review period.
For many years, EPA has been working with its federal and state partners to clean up the installation. In 1990, EPA, the State of Florida and the Navy signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA). The FFA helps to 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.
EPA has worked with the community and its state and federal partners to develop a long-term cleanup plan for NAS Pensacola, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.
The Navey, EPA and FDEP have conducted a range of community involvement activities at NAS Pensacola 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 information meetings.
In addition, the Navy, in cooperation with EPA and FDEP, convened a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) for NAS Pensacola. The RAB serves as a forum for the exchange of information and partnership among citizens, the installation, EPA and the State of Florida. The Navy hosts RAB meetings quarterly. To learn more about the NAS Pensacola RAB, please contact Gregory Campbell with the NAS Pensacola Public Works Department at 850-452-3131.
The Navy continues to conduct site investigations.
EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2013 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2018.
The Navy keeps additional site documents and information in a site information repository at the location 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.
John C. Pace Library
University of West Florida
Building 32, 11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514