News Release, NAS Pax River Public Affairs Office
PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – The Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River’s Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) is a partnership between the base, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The mission of the ERP is to clean up federal land that was impacted due to past Navy activities, protect communities from possible contaminants associated with those activities, and to restore the environment such that it is productively re-used while being mindful of taxpayer resources. That mission is executed by the Navy, with all decisions informed by sound science and agreements among members of the Tier I Partnering Team, composed of representatives of all four agencies. Final cleanup decisions are also informed by input from the public.
Five-Year reviews are conducted at sites where it was determined that it was either technically infeasible or cost-prohibitive to remove all environmental contaminants. The sites were addressed such that they do not present a risk to human health or the environment. However, because some contamination is still present, the Navy maintains a responsibility to ensure the sites’ continuing protectiveness. This responsibility includes conducting formal reviews of each site, every 5 years. The 2019 Five-Year Review is the fifth the base has conducted since 1994.
2019 Review: Sites
The recently concluded 5-Year Review looked at six sites: Site 1, Fishing Point landfill; Site 6, the Boneyard; Site 11, the Former Sanitary Landfill; Site 12, the Landfill Behind the Rifle Range; Site 17, the Pesticide Control Shop; Site 31, The Tire Shop; and Site 39, the Perchloroethylene Storage Area.
2019 Review: Process
The five-year Review process included the following elements: community involvement; document review; data review; a site inspection; and report preparation and review.
Community involvement is obtained through NAS Patuxent River’s Restoration Advisory Board (RAB). The RAB was established in 1995 and is composed of community members as well as representatives of the Navy, MDE, and USEPA. The RAB meets annually in the spring to keep the community informed of environmental issues at NAS Patuxent River.
The document review looks at all records and documents, generated since the last 5-Year Review that relevant to the sites that the review covers. For example, at Sites 1, 11, and 12, which are landfills, documents pertaining to the maintenance of the protective cap or cover are reviewed to ensure that the integrity of the cap or cover has been maintained.
The data review, like the document review, looks at all data generated since the last 5-Year Review. For example, at Sites 31 and 39, both groundwater cleanup sites and sites at which quarterly sampling is occurring, the results of that sampling is reviewed. The data review helps the Navy understand whether or not the cleanups are working as intended and whether or not contaminants have migrated.
The site inspection is a physical evaluation of the site. The inspection would look to identify any factors or conditions at the sites that might have changed since the last 5-Year Review. For example, at the landfill sites, the inspector would examine the integrity of the protective cap or cover.
Report preparation and review is the final step. The report compiles all findings from the review and it is shared with the USEPA, MDE, and the public. The 2019 5-Year Review report is available for anyone to review at either the base library located at 22269 Cedar Point Road, Building 407, Patuxent River, MD 20629 or the St. Mary’s County Public Library, Lexington Park Branch at 21677 FDR Boulevard, Lexington Park, MD 20653
2019 Review: Results
As presented in each site’s protectiveness statement “The remedy [was found to be] protective of human health and the environment under current and future conditions.” The next 5-Year Review will be completed in 2024.
The Navy, through the ERP and in partnership with the regulatory community, is committed to maintaining a healthy environment for all those who live and work at its bases as well as those who live in nearby communities.