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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: HQ 10th MTN Division & Fort Drum in Fort Drum, New York

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status 

Fort Drum is implementing Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs), which consist of direct contaminant source removal, groundwater pump and treatment and free oil recovery operations. Approximately 12,000 tons of contaminated soils, 32,500 gallons of free product and 110 million gallons of groundwater have been removed, treated and disposed of as part of the interim measures to date. Ft. Drum is currently conducting an ICM consisting of bioventing and aquifer air sparging in Areas 1395 and 1495 of Gasoline Alley. In addition, Ft. Drum is currently conducting a phytoremediation pilot study, via construction of a wetland, to address impacted surface water from the Old Sanitary Landfill.

The Interim Corrective Measures already implemented include:

  • removal of 22 underground storage tanks and contaminated soil along Gasoline Alley;
  • debris removal and composite capping at two landfills;
  •  installation and operation of six free product and groundwater recovery systems;
  • installation and operation of two bioventing systems and; demolition and soil removal to address pesticide and herbicide contamination.

The two areas with potential off-site groundwater migration, Area 2140 and Area 1795/World War II Landfill, have been addressed. Offsite migration near Area 2140 is currently being contained by the operation of five extraction wells to collect free product and groundwater as well as five air sparging wells with ozone injection to collect contaminated groundwater at the border. A remedial action approved on March 20, 2007 is also operating near Area 1795 (Gasoline Alley Area), which consists in a combination of Air Sparging and Soil Vapor Extraction, and recent data show that off-site groundwater is under control (below New York State groundwater standards). The remediation for Area 2140 at the property line is working as designed, and to prevent contamination downgradient Ft. Drum has installed two additional aquifer air sparging/bioventing units.

With the successful operation of five extraction wells to collect free product and groundwater as well as five air sparging wells with ozone injection to collect contaminated groundwater at the border, offsite groundwater migration near Area 2140 is under control.

The following is a summary of remedial work that still needs to be completed:

  • Gasoline Alley Area 1295 (large spill area)
    As part of an interim corrective measure, the soil was excavated and removed off-site for disposal, and a pilot test to treat the residual soil with oxygen release compounds was implemented. The pilot test failed. A Remedial Investigation and Remedial Design originally planned for 2004 was performed in the summer 2005. The proposed Remedial Design, consisting of an In-Situ Chemical Oxidation was approved on September 9, 2006. A Remedial Action will be conducted once a consent order is issued to the facility. There is no offsite groundwater migration from this area.
  • Gasoline Alley Area 1395
    A Remedial Action consisting of a combination of Air Sparging and Soil Vapor Extraction is back in operation until the groundwater plume is stabilized.
  • Gasoline Alley Area 1495
    The system is identical to Area 1395, and was shut down. Contamination levels very close to clean up standards. A monitored natural attenuation system is in place.
  • Gasoline Alley Area 1595
    A new system (Air Sparging and Soil Vapor Extraction) has replaced pump and treat wells (four recovery wells) in mid-2005. The remedial system will be operational until remedial goals at the facility are met.
  • Gasoline Alley Area 1795/World War II Landfill
    A Remedial Design Workplan consisting of a multiphase extraction system, soil vapor extraction, and aquifer air sparging wells was approved on March 20, 2007. Prior implementing Remedial Design, however, the facility will conduct additional surface soils/debris samples to better delineate the impacted areas. Remedial Design implementation will be conducted through the issuance of a consent order.
  • Gasoline Alley Area 3805
    This is the most extensive and complex remediation project. The groundwater plume has high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds and goes underneath a highway and the old sanitary landfill. There are four multi-phase remediation systems in place [Soil Vapor Extraction, Air Sparging, Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid removal], which are fully operational since February 2005 to the present. Area 3805 and the old sanitary landfill contribute to the same plume; consequently, the Groundwater Remedial Action is for both areas. A Remedial Design Workplan for enhancements to the Remedial Action addressing 3-4 large seeps, which consists in the installation of air surface wells and associated piping ("Draft Addendum for Source Area Remediation") was approved on April 4, 2007. This enhancement along with the new Landfill capping will be performed in FY2008 once the consent order is issued to the facility.
  • Old Sanitary Landfill Area
    As part of an interim corrective measure, a pilot study consisting of phytoremediation plantation to capture heavy metals and pesticides is being performed near landfill seepage. A Remedial Action consisting of a Landfill Cap Improvement was approved on March 22, 2007 and will be implemented once the consent order is issued. The long term ground water monitoring of this landfill is projected to last 25 years (2030).
  • Airfield Sanitary Landfill Area
    The Remedial Action, consisting of repairs of cap and drainage systems, was completed in 2001. Long term groundwater monitoring (with annual Volatile Organic Compounds sampling) will continue at least until 2030.
  • Building P-2140 USTs
    Remedial system consisting of dual phase extraction (source area) and air sparging with ozone (downgradient) is in place since 2002. One additional air sparging line was added in 2004. There was an off-site groundwater migration from the area, and also surface water and sediment contamination on-site. The main contaminants are benzene, toluene ethylbenzene and xylene (BETX) and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive. Although sporadically surface water and sediments of wetland (onsite) still show levels of MTBE and BTEX above NYS standards, the area has achieved Groundwater Contamination uUnder Control.

Building 1245 UST
Former Underground Storage Tank (UST) farm was excavated and removed. A Final Focused Technical Selection proposing no further action was approved on July 20, 2006. However, groundwater monitoring program and monitored natural attenuation of this area will continue until remediation goals are met.

Site Description

HQ 10th MTN Division & Fort Drum facility is located at Jones Street and Off North Memorial Drive, in Fort Drum, in the northern portion of New York State approximately 10 miles northeast of Watertown. Fort Drum is the largest Army installation in the northeast, covering about 107,265 acres.

The facility has twenty solid waste management units and seven areas of concern undergoing corrective action, including nine landfills, seven underground storage tank sites, four storage areas, four spill sites, and three explosive ordnance disposal areas.

Beginning in 1980, Ft. Drum conducted investigations and implemented interim corrective actions to evaluate and mitigate releases to the environment. The corrective action program is the responsibility of the US Department of Defense and the Army Corps of Engineers, and it is monitored by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. 

Contaminants at this Facility

Past solid waste disposal practices have resulted in the contamination of soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment of waterways which flow through the facility. The primary sources of contamination are the leaking underground storage tanks which resulted in free product floating on the water table. Other sources of contamination are as follows:

  • Leachate from landfills which contain petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and paint components.
  • Explosive ordnance disposal activities that have caused elevated levels of heavy metals, trace explosive and propellant compounds in soil and groundwater.
  • Two building sites contaminated with pesticides.

Contamination is primarily on-site, but until recently a groundwater plume consisting of gasoline with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) extended approximately 800 feet from its origin to the facility boundary including about 50 feet off-site. This plume originated from Building 2140, a former gas station located in the southwest portion of the site near the Black River.

The following three fate and transport pathways were evaluated at Fort Drum:

  • the potential for chemicals in the Old Sanitary Landfill to leach to surface water,
  • the potential for chemicals in the surface water and groundwater to migrate to both the Indian River and Black River located in the northeast and southeast portions of the facility, and
  • the chemicals of concern in the non-aqueous phase liquid (free liquid) to discharge to surface water and groundwater.

All potential exposure pathways were also evaluated such as on-site workers, trespassers, construction workers, and military personnel who may potentially be exposed to inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact. A risk estimate was calculated for this site using maximum exposure point concentrations. The result of the estimated calculations show that cumulative risks are within EPA's risk range (10-4 to 10-6) for carcinogens, and below the hazard index of 1.0 for non-carcinogens.

With respect to the landfill seepage to the unnamed creek, dilution of contaminants in the creek occurs rapidly and does not pose an unacceptable risk to downstream recreational activities. That conclusion is supported by results of quarterly sampling performed in the creek. However, there is a potential for contaminant exposure to ecological receptors in the area surrounding the site if the landfill-seepage concentration increases. All personnel working on site (construction and on site workers) follow the appropriate health and safety requirements to eliminate exposure. Trespassers are not anticipated to be exposed to contaminated areas at this facility as access is controlled. 

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The Facility has RCRA interim status. A New York State consent order is being negotiated to ensure implementation of the final remedial measures.

Fort Drum withdrew its Part B RCRA permit application and closed the interim status container storage facility in July 2000. Currently, corrective action is being performed on a voluntary basis until New York Stated Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) issue an Order on Consent.