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Robins Air Force Base

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Entrance to LF04 on Robins AFB

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: GA1570024330
Location: Warner Robins, Houston County, GA
Lat/Long: 32.619980, -083.582070
Congressional District: 08
NPL Status: Proposed: 10/15/84; Final: 07/22/87
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Sludge, Soil, Surface Water
Cleanup Status: Construction complete – physical cleanup activities have been completed
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In use as an active military facility
Site Manager: Hugh Hazen (hazen.hugh@epa.gov)


Current Status

The Robins Air Force Base (Robins AFB), a U.S. Air Force Material Command (AFMC) base, performs aircraft maintenance, repair and other support activities. Part of Robins AFB is a Superfund site listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) of contaminated sites; the site includes a landfill (Landfill Number 4, or LF04), a lagoon (Sludge Lagoon) and ground water contamination. EPA, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have undertaken cleanup actions at the Robins AFB site, protecting human health and the environment. Physical cleanup activities were completed in 2004. EPA, Georgia EPD and DoD continue to ensure the protectiveness of the site’s remedy through long-term monitoring and cleanup of ground water, land use controls and required Five-Year Reviews.

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Site Location

Robins AFB is located in Houston County, Georgia, approximately 18 miles south of the City of Macon. The 8,800-acre Installation includes over 14 million square feet of operational facilities and 1,400 housing units. Robins AFB is bounded to the west by the City of Warner Robins, to the north by a housing subdivision, to the south by the unincorporated area of Bonaire, and to the east by the Ocmulgee River and its floodplain.

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Site Background

Robins AFB performs aircraft maintenance, repair and other support activities for a variety of aircraft. These activities have generated solid and industrial wastes, including hazardous wastes. From 1966 to 1978, these solid and industrial wastes were disposed of in Landfill Number 4, which is part of the NPL site. From 1962 to 1978, industrial waste treatment plant sludge and other miscellaneous industrial wastes (e.g., solvents and oils) were disposed of in the 1.5-acre unlined Sludge Lagoon that is also part of the NPL site. Sludge from the industrial waste treatment plant that was disposed of in the Sludge Lagoon included electroplating sludge containing heavy metals and cyanide. In 1978, Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon were both closed and covered with clean fill. 

After an Installation-wide survey in 1982, it was determined that Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon had the highest potential for migration of hazardous substances and were consequently placed on EPA’s NPL of contaminated sites. EPA, Georgia EPD and DoD worked throughout the 1990s and 2000s to clean up the Robins AFB site.

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Threats and Contaminants

Contaminants of concern identified in site ground water, soils, sediment and sludge include metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and trichloroethylene. Land use controls and ground water cleanup and monitoring are being used to prevent unacceptable exposure to these contaminants.

To address risks associated with contamination at the Robins AFB site, the cleanup plan below was developed.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Robins AFB (DOD) maintains overall responsibility for the investigation and cleanup of the site with oversight by EPA and Georgia EPD.  

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Site Cleanup Plan

EPA selected the remedy for the Robins AFB site in a series of cleanup plans, or Records of Decision (RODs), that addressed contamination across all three OUs.

An Interim ROD for OU-1 was issued in 1991. The cleanup approach included the diversion of surface water run-on, renovation of the landfill cap, collection and treatment of ground water from the Sludge Lagoon and treatment of Sludge Lagoon wastes to remove VOCs and solidifying metals.

The ROD for OU-2 was issued in 1994. The cleanup approach included the construction of a fence to limit access to the site. The approach also recommended monitoring in order to identify any changes in site conditions due to the run-on controls and redirection of industrial wastewater discharge from Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon.

An Interim ROD for OU-3 was issued in 1995. The cleanup approach included the removal of ground water beneath Landfill Number 4, treatment of the ground water using a pump-and-treat system and discharge of the treated water into the Ocmulgee River under a revised National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

The Final ROD for OU-1 and OU-3 was approved by EPA in 2004. The Final ROD continued the remedies from the two interim RODs in 1991 and 1995. In addition, the Final ROD’s remedy included maintenance of the landfill cap. To ensure the long-term protection of human health and the environment, the Final ROD also selected institutional controls to limit future site uses. The selected institutional controls included ground water use restrictions as well as access and dig restrictions to protect the landfill and sludge basin caps.

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Cleanup Progress

Overview

Between 1991 and 1998, cleanup activities at the Robins AFB site included construction for surface water run-on controls and leachate collection, treatment of the Sludge Lagoon using soil vapor extraction, and installation of an impermeable cap for Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon. In 2002, the cleanup of the wetlands and surface waters (OU-2) was transferred to Georgia EPD's RCRA Corrective Action Program after determining that the landfill and lagoon did not contribute to contamination of these areas. Other cleanup actions specific to each OU are discussed in more detail below.

Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon (OU-1)

Cleanup activities at Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon began in 1991and included the installation of an impermeable cap for both areas. In addition, surface water run-on controls were constructed and leachate collection occurred. The Sludge Lagoon was also treated with soil vapor extraction and solidification. These cleanup activities were completed in 1998.

Neighboring Wetlands and Surface Waters Impacted by Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon (OU-2)

Cleanup activities for the neighboring wetlands and surface waters impacted by the Sludge Lagoon began in 1994 and were completed in 1999. In 2002, it was determined that Landfill Number 4 and the Sludge Lagoon had not contributed to the wetlands contamination; wetlands and surface water cleanup was consequently transferred to Georgia EPD’s RCRA Corrective Action Program.

Ground Water (OU-3)

In 1997, a pump-and-treat system was installed at Landfill Number 4 to restore the ground water at the site. This system has operated continuously from 1997 and continues to operate today.

Conclusion

Five-Year Reviews were completed for the Robins AFB site in 2001 and 2006. The 2006 Five-Year Review found the remedy at the Robins AFB site to be protective of human health and the environment.

The Robins AFB site achieved Construction Completion status in 2004 and currently meets EPA’s criteria for Site-wide Ready for Anticipated Use. These measures are key EPA milestones indicating that the site’s remedy is protective of human health and the environment and any needed land use controls are in place. All physical remedies are in place; operation and maintenance (O&M) activities and long-term treatment and monitoring are ongoing. Routine operation and maintenance activities at the site include monthly inspections of the landfill cap, gas vents and surface water drainage system; periodic inspections of the ground water pumping stations; daily inspections of all ground water treatment plant equipment; biannual sampling of the ground water monitoring wells; and quarterly sampling of OU-3 surface water and sediments. DoD submits annual O&M and site-wide progress reports to EPA and Georgia EPD.

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Enforcement Activities

In 1989, Robins AFB entered into a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) with EPA and Georgia EPD. The FFA outlined the process for investigation and cleanup activities at the Robins AFB site.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state and federal partners to develop a long-term remedy for the Robins AFB site, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. EPA cannot fulfill its mission without community engagement and public outreach as core components of the program’s activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Robins AFB 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, fact sheets and a Community Relations Plan developed in 2005. The Community Relations Plan (PDF) (65 pp, 12MB, About PDF) is periodically updated. Robins AFB also has an Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) that is composed of local residents, public officials and EPA employees. The Robins EAB issues fact sheets, reviews cleanup-related documents and holds quarterly meetings that are open to the public and focus on environmental issues and activities related to Robins AFB.

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Future Work

Ground water cleanup and monitoring are ongoing. The next Five-Year Review for the site is scheduled for 2011.

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Additional Information

Site Repository

For more information or to view any site-related documents, please visit the site information repository at the following location or access site information online. As new documents are generated, they will be placed in the information repository.

Nola Brantley Memorial Library
(also known as Houston County Libraries-Warner Robins Houston County Library)
721 Watson Boulevard
Warner Robins, Georgia  31093

For documents that are not available online, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

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