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.
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use as a Naval air station
Site Manager: Gregory Fraley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The U.S. Navy established the Navy’s first permanent air station in Pensacola, Florida in 1914. Since that time it has served as the primary training base for naval aviators. Today, Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola occupies 5,900 acres on a peninsula in southern Escambia County, five miles southwest of the City of Pensacola. The peninsula is bounded on the north by Bayou Grande and on the east and south by Pensacola Bay.
Various housing, training, and support facilities are on the base. A large naval aviation depot that repairs and refurbishes aircraft engines and frames was in the area surrounding Chevalier Field. Most industrial operations were conducted in the older portion of the base, on the eastern end of the peninsula. The naval aviation depot was decommissioned in 1995. The western end is comprised of the main airfield (Forrest Sherman Field) and undeveloped forest land.
The official mission of the air station is to provide facilities, service, and support for the operation and maintenance of naval weapons and aircraft to operating forces of the Navy. Some of the tasks required to accomplish this mission include operation of fuel storage facilities, performance of aircraft maintenance, maintenance and operation of engine repair facilities and test cells for aircraft engines, and support of weapon systems. Maintenance activities have generated a variety of disposed materials including waste oils or solvents, paints, electroplating wastes, radium paint waste and insecticides.
The Navy initiated an environmental investigation of NAS Pensacola in 1983.
Volatile organic compounds were detected in monitoring wells and heavy metals were detected in surface water and sediments. Contaminated soil was also identified. An estimated 15,000 people located on NAS and 30,000 customers of Peoples' Water Company obtain water from wells located within three miles of the hazardous substances on site.
Site Cleanup Plan
Cleanup activities at NAS Pensacola are complex. NAS Pensacola must complete not only the regulatory obligations associated with its NPL listing, but also must satisfy the ongoing requirements of a State-issued Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit for the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and waste and the investigation and cleanup of releases of hazardous waste and/or constituents from solid waste management units (SWMUs) at NAS Pensacola.
Since 1998, cleanup actions have been underway. As part of its Superfund obligations, EPA issues Records of Decision (RODs) describing selected cleanup approaches to address contamination not addressed through prior short-term cleanup (e.g., removal) actions. The RODs address cleanup priorities in different areas of the base, referred to as Operable Units (OUs). These OUs are comprised of one or more SWMUs. Since 1995, EPA has issued numerous RODs; many of these indicate that no further cleanup action is required.
Finalized RODs are available online. Details about recent ROD activity are below.
- SWMUs 2 and 40 - Separate RODs containing no further action were issued in September 2005.
- SWMUs 8 and 24 - A ROD containing restrictions on the use of ground water and soil was issued in November 2006. This ROD also included ground water monitoring requirements.
- SWMU 38 - A ROD containing restrictions on the use of ground water was issued in November 2006. This ROD also included ground water monitoring.
- SWMU 11, 12, 25, 26, 27 and 30 - The ground water is being monitored for constituents that would indicate that natural attenuation (use of natural processes to reduce concentrations of contaminants in ground water) is occurring. A ROD (OU-2) addressing these SWMUs is being prepared and was expected to be issued in 2008.
- SWMUs 44, 45 and 46 - The sites are currently undergoing initial cleanup investigations. RODs for these may issued in the future.
Since 1998, numerous cleanup actions have been initiated in various areas throughout NAS Pensacola. These include removal of contaminated soils, installation of a ground water interception system, and installation of a ground water wells that connect with a wastewater treatment system. Details include:
- SWMUs 1 and 7 - Removal of 55 cubic yards of contaminated soils mixed with waste tar and arsenic was completed in September 1998. Also at SWMU 1 - A ground water interception system was installed to capture iron-rich ground water entering from the landfill to reduce the levels to meet the water quality standards. The system was completed in June 1999.
- SWMUs 17, 18 & 25 - Removal of 13 cubic yards of polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated soils was completed in September 1998.
- SWMU 9A - Removal of 573 cubic yards of lead-contaminated soils was completed in September 1998.
- SWMU 8A - The removal of 634 cubic yards of Dieldrin-impacted soil and 429 cubic yards of cadmium-impacted soil was completed in July 2004.
- SWMU 10 - Removal of 8 cubic yards of Dieldrin-contaminated soils was completed in September 1998. Also, additional wells were installed to tie into the wastewater treatment system operating under the RCRA permit to treat ground water contaminated with volatile organic compounds. Construction was completed in 1998.
The 2008 Five-Year Review (FYR) examined cleanup approaches in use for OUs 1, 4, 11, and 13. Findings suggested that cleanup approaches for OUs 4 and 13 were protective of human health and the environment. The long-term protectiveness of the cleanup approaches for OUs 1 and 11 required additional monitoring; however the short-term protectiveness of these approaches were considered effective.
The Department of the Navy is leading site cleanup activities with oversight by EPA.
In 1990, EPA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and the Navy signed a Federal Facilities Agreement to ensure that the environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the site are thoroughly investigated and appropriate cleanup response and corrective actions are developed and implemented as necessary to protect the public health, welfare and the environment.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Pensacola Naval Air Station site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices and information meetings on cleanup progress and activities.
In January 1989, a Technical Review Committee (TRC) was formed to review recommendations for investigation and cleanup efforts at NAS Pensacola and monitor its progress. The TRC was made up of representatives of the Navy, USEPA, Florida Department of Environmental Resources (now FDEP), and the local community.
The next FYR for the site must be completed by 2013.
Site Administrative Documents
For more information or to view any site-related documents, please visit the site information repository at the following location. As new documents are generated, they will be placed in the information repository for public information.
John C. Pace Library of the University of West Florida
Bldg. 32, 11000 University Pkwy.
Pensacola, FL 32514
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.