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Final Record of Decision for Cleanup at Naval Submarine Base in New London, Conn. Superfund Site

Release Date: 09/13/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 13, 2012) –The United States Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with the US Navy and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced approval of the thirteenth Record of Decision (ROD) at the Naval Submarine Base - New London Superfund site in Groton, Conn.  In signing the ROD, the EPA has formally accepted the Navy’s cleanup plan to address contamination at the submarine base.

The signing of the ROD will enable the Navy to move forward on the remedial design and cleanup action in the area known as the Lower Submarine Base. The cleanup is expected to commence in November 2013. 

The Lower Submarine Base, which covers approximately 102 acres, is located in the southwestern portion of the site.  Over many years, various ship maintenance activities took place in this area.  Lead acid battery maintenance and overhaul activities occurred in this area until the mid 1950’s and an incinerator operated at the site until 1967. 

In 2011, the Navy completed a remedial investigation in the Lower Submarine Base to characterize the nature and extent of contamination.  The contaminants of concern in this area include polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, metals and pesticides.  Based on the outcome of the remedial investigation the Navy looked at various options for cleanup known formally as a Feasibility Study.

In April 2012, the Navy held an informational meeting for the public to explain the proposed plan for addressing contamination in soil, sediment, surface and groundwater in the Lower Submarine Base, as well as a public hearing to take public comment on the Navy’s cleanup proposal. The Navy has provided a formal response to the public comments on the cleanup plan in the ROD.

The cleanup plan in the Lower Submarine Base will focus on contamination in soil and sediments. The Navy proposed no action in surface water and groundwater in the area under this ROD because levels of contamination for contaminants regulated under federal standards are at very low concentrations and therefore do not pose an unacceptable health or ecological risk. EPA concurs. In addition to this federal cleanup, the Navy will also address state requirements for the cleanup of state-regulated petroleum wastes within the area.

The Lower Submarine Base area is divided into seven zones. The selected remedies in these zones are as follows:

• Zone 1: Land use controls and monitoring of soils
• Zones 3 and 7: Maintaining soil covers, land use controls and monitoring of soils
• Zones 2, 5, and 6: No further action
• Zone 4: Excavation, monitoring and land use controls of soils and dredging of the   sediment, land use controls and monitoring in the Thames River.  Land use controls and monitoring of sediments around Outer Pier 1.

The 711 acre Naval Submarine Base- New London Superfund site is located along the Thames River in the towns of Groton and Ledyard, Connecticut.  The submarine base contains piers, berths and maintenance facilities as well as administrative offices.  After contamination was discovered at the Base, the Naval Submarine Base was listed on the USEPA National Priorities List in August 1990 for cleanup under Superfund program. After the base was listed, the EPA, Connecticut DEEP and Navy signed a formal agreement known as a Federal Facility Agreement which is a procedural framework for addressing cleanup at the site.

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