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Naval Air Station Whiting Field

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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FL2170023244
Location: Milton, Santa Rosa County, FL
Lat/Long: 30.709720, -087.020410
Congressional District: 01
NPL Status: Proposed: 01/18/94; Final 05/31/94
Affected Media: Soil
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities are underway
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Active Facility
Site Manager: Craig Benedikt (benedikt.craig@epa.gov)

Site Background

Commissioned in 1943, Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field is located in Santa Rosa County, approximately 5.5 miles north of Milton and 25 miles northeast of Pensacola, Florida. NAS Whiting Field's mission is to provide primary fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft and advanced helicopter training. The facility is approximately 3,842 acres in size and consists of two air fields (North and South) separated by an industrial area.

Past waste handling practices at NAS Whiting Field have resulted in contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum constituents and spent solvents. Through the early 1980s, construction and demolition debris, garbage, waste solvents and oils, tank bottom sludges, fuels and machine fluids were disposed in different locations at the facility. Solvents have been used for cleaning structural metal components prior to repair or fabrication, and for stripping paint from aluminum, steel, and alloys. The facility does not have a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act treatment, storage, and disposal permit, but it is listed as a generator of hazardous waste.

Three on-site wells currently supply NAS Whiting Field. In 1986, the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation requested that one drinking water supply well be shut down due to concentrations of benzene exceeding the State drinking water standard. Within one month, the State similarly requested that an additional drinking water supply well be shut down due to concentrations of trichloroethylene exceeding State drinking water standards. These wells were retrofitted with a charcoal filter system and returned to service.

Approximately 6,500 people located within four miles of the facility obtain their drinking water from ground water. Forested lands surrounding NAS Whiting Field consists primarily of agricultural land to the northwest, residential and forested to the south and southwest, and forests along the remaining boundaries.

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Threats and Contaminants

Ground water has been contaminated with trichloroethylene. Soil and ground water have been contaminated with arsenic, petroleum constituents, and spent solvents.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Due to the size and complexity of the site, 27 operable units (OUs) have been identified at NAS Whiting Field.

These OUs typically refer to various portions of the site. OU-1, for example, refers to a 5-acre parcel located along the northwestern facility boundary where disposal of refuse, waste paints, thinners, solvent, waste oils, and hydraulic fluids associated with the operation and maintenance of aircraft from 1943 until 1965 occurred. OU- 2, refers to a 12-acre parcel located along the northwestern facility boundary near the North Airfield, which was used for the disposal of construction and demolition debris from 1976 until 1984.

Records of Decision (RODs) describing the cleanup approaches selected for the various portions of the site have been issued for 22 OUs. No Action and No Further Action RODs have been issued for eight OUs: OU-3, Site 3; OU-5, Site 5; OU-6, Site 6; OU-8, Site 9; OU-11, Site 12; OU-13, Site 14; OU-23, Site 38, and OU-26, Site 29.

The most recent ROD – for OU-15, Site 16, the primary waste disposal area at Whiting Field between 1943 and 1965 – was issued in November 2008. Major cleanup elements for OU-15 include implementation of land use controls (LUCs) to restrict the site to non-residential or residential-like use and non-recreational use and to prohibit excavation, disturbance, or removal of soils from the site unless prior written approval is obtained from EPA and the State of Florida.

Details for cleanup approaches at other site OUs are available online.

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Cleanup Progress

Removal actions were completed at five OUs during 1999 and at six additional OUs during 2001 to address contamination issues.

EPA, the State of Florida, and the Navy signed an LUC Assurance Plan Memorandum of Agreement in 1999 to insure the effectiveness and reliability of the required land use controls for OU-1 and 2. 

A ROD amendment was issued in 2008 for OU-2 removing the LUC requirements selected in the 1999 ROD for OU-2.

Remedial investigations have been completed on 25 of 27 OUs and feasibility studies have been completed for 24 of 27 OUs at the site. Site investigation activities continue for the site for the remaining OUs.

One Five-Year Review (FYR) has been finalized for the site - in 2006.  This FYR covered OU-1 and OU-2, and found the remedies for those two areas to be protective of human health and the environment.

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Enforcement Activities

A Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) for Whiting Field (PDF) Exit Disclaimer (55 pp, 4.0MB, About PDF) was signed in early 2009 and is available for public comment. FFAs ensure that the environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the site are thoroughly investigated and appropriate cleanup and corrective actions are developed and implemented as well as establish schedules and priorities and enforceable milestones for cleanup activities at federal sites.

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Community Involvement

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Whiting Field 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, newsletters, and public meetings on cleanup activities and updates.

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Future Work

The remedial investigations for the final two OUs are scheduled to be completed in 2009 and 2010.

The next FYR for the site is scheduled for  in 2011.

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Site Administrative Documents

Site Repository

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.

West Florida Regional Library
805 Alabama Street
Milton, Florida  32570

For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

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