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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Atlantic Wood Industries

Portsmouth, Virginia

Site Description
The approximately 48-acre Atlantic Wood Industries (AWI) site is located in the industrialized waterfront area of Portsmouth, VA.  The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the operations center for the Portsmouth Public School District, and several other small industrial properties surround the site, which includes another approximately 30 acres of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  From 1926 to 1992, a wood-treating facility operated at the AWI property which used both creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP).  At one time, the Navy leased part of the property and disposed of abrasive blast media from the sand blasting of naval equipment on-site.  Sediments in the Elizabeth River contain visible creosote. The ground water and soil at the site are also heavily contaminated with creosote.

Cleanup Activities to Date
EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List in 1990.  In 2002, EPA, AWI and the Navy completed a removal action to clean up contaminated sludge affecting on-site wetlands and to put a cap on an abrasive blast media disposal area.  In late 2007, EPA selected a site cleanup approach, which includes river dredging, on-site consolidation of sediments, stabilization of creosote-soaked soils, and installation of a sheet pile wall off-shore in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  This wall will prevent creosote migration to the river.  EPA has focused its outreach activities on industrial workers, Elizabeth River environmental groups and some subsistence fishers who can be exposed to contaminants by consuming fish and crabs. 

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $3.7 million in Recovery Act funds for cleanup activities that will include stabilization of creosote-soaked soils, construction of an earthen berm to contain some of the contaminated sediments that will be dredged in a future phase, shoreline stabilization work, soil excavation and consolidation, and wetland mitigation work. Not only will the cleanup itself create job opportunities, but it also will create significant redevelopment opportunities once completed. The cleanup will start approximately one year earlier than expected because of Recovery Act funding.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • Field work on the west side berm (Remedy Component 2) began again in April 2011 and was completed in May 2011.
  • The river berm contract was awarded April of 2011 and onsite remedial action activities started in June 2011. As of September 2011, site mobilization, clearing, and site preparation for revised berm (Remedy Component 3) are completed. Berm construction is currently ongoing with a projected completion in 1Q FY2012.
  • Remedy Component 1 (excavation of approximately 1,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil) was completed in 2010.

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