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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Virginia

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Corrective Action at The Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) is being addressed under a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Permit that was first issued by U.S. EPA in 1989. The permit was reissued October 31, 2000. The RAAP has been in the process of assessing the Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs), Areas of Concern, Site Screening Areas, and Miscellaneous Units, collectively called units, at the Site. Seventy-seven units were identified for investigation and potential remediation pursuant to the 2000 permit. Various investigations and actions have been completed and reports have been submitted to EPA and the Commonwealth of Virginia, since 1989. Since 1989 four additional SWMUs were added to the list of units to be investigated at RAAP.

Cleanup Status

Seventy-six units have been investigated and 19 SWMUs were found to be contaminated and were addressed primarily through the excavation and removal of contaminated soil from the RAAP. The remaining units were found not to pose an unacceptable risk. In May 2011, EPA issued a Statement of Basis proposing Final Remedies for the 76 units. The Proposed Remedy(ies) for each unit were described generally as one or a combination of the following: 1) Soil Removal and Disposal; 2) Groundwater Monitoring; 3) Administrative Controls (such as land use restrictions) or Engineering Controls (such as inspection and maintenance at certain SWMUs) to protect the integrity of the remedy or 4) No Additional Investigation/Remediation. This leaves five SWMUs still included in the Corrective Action permit for investigation and if appropriate, remediation.

In April 2012, EPA issued a Final Decision and Response to Comments on the May 2011 Statement of Basis - selecting the Final Remedy as proposed. Investigation of the remaining units is ongoing and is forecast for completion during 2013. EPA will modify the RCRA Corrective Action Permit to require implementation of the Final Remedy for all the units at RAAP.

In August 2014 EPA issued a Final Decision and Response to Comments on the June 2014 Statement of Basis - selecting the Final Remedy as proposed for the remainder of the units identified in the Permit. The RCRA Corrective Action Permit will be modified to require implementation of the Final Remedy for all the units at RAAP. The permit renewal will have on-going obligations for any future environmental compliance and clean up.

The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released their final report for the Drinking Water Health Consultation on Radford Army Ammunition Plant . ATSDR received several public comments on the April 23, 2014 draft of this report. In the draft health consultation, ATSDR found that chemicals released into groundwater or surface water from the RFAAP facility are not expected to harm people's health through either public drinking water supplies or private drinking water wells. The Agency's findings and recommendations remain the same in the final health consultation document.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Radford, VA

RAAP is a government-owned, contractor-operated military installation supplying solvent and solventless propellant and explosives to the Armed Forces. Construction of the current RAAP production facility began in 1940. RAAP initially consisted of a smokeless powder plant, referred to as [Radford Ordnance Works (ROW)]. RF AAP is located in the mountains of southwest Virginia in Pulaski and Montgomery Counties and it consists of two non-contiguous areas: the Main Manufacturing Area (MMA) and the New River Unit (NRU). The MMA is located approximately five miles northeast of the city of Radford, Virginia, which is approximately ten miles west ofBlacksburg and 47 miles southwest of Roanoke. The NRU is located about six miles west of the MMA, near the town of Dublin, and is not covered under the 2000 Permit

RAAP has been conducting investigations and/or clean-ups at 77 total areas identified in the Corrective Action Permits. Details of these investigations/cleanups can be found in the RAAP online Information repository.Exit  

RAAP also conducts quarterly Restoration Advisory Board Meetings to keep the public informed of progress at the site.


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Contaminants at this Facility

The plant manufactures many types of explosives, ammunitions and rocket fuel, and containments associated with the manufacture of these products included heavy metals and solvents.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Land and Groundwater use restrictions include:

  • The Southeast Hillside Area of the ARSAR shall not be used for residential  purposes.
  • Groundwater at SWMUs 48, 49, and 54 shall not be used for any purpose.
  • The ARSAR and SWMUs 48,49, and 54 shall not be used in a way that will adversely affect or interfere with the integrity and protectiveness of the final remedies implemented at the Facility.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility is under continued use.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from the Virginia DEQ.

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