Mission Cleanup is an ongoing federal-state partnership that capitalizes on sound science to Clean, Protect & Restore. Cheatham Annex (CAX), Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) are committed to maintaining open dialogue with impacted communities as we work together. Mission Cleanup’s success relies on ongoing public awareness and engagement in the cleanup process through channels such as the Restoration Advisory Board. Public participation is critical to our ability to Clean, Protect, & Restore. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of the Navy’s Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) at CAX.
Eighteen potentially contaminated Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites and Areas of Concern (AOCs), and one Munitions Response Program (MRP) area have been identified for evaluation at CAX based on assessments and investigations. Three IRP sites (Sites 4, 7, and 9), four IRP AOCs (AOCs 1, 6, 8, and 9), and no MRP areas are currently active in the CAX ERP. Following desktop audits, site investigations, and/or removal actions, 11 sites and AOCs have been identified for no further action by the CAX ERP Partnering Team. Additional site information on the active and NFA sites is detailed in the Site Management Plan, which is available within the Administrative Record.
When the last remedial action has been completed or the final remedy has been implemented such that the treatment system is operating as intended (Remedy in Place), a Preliminary Closeout Report for the facility will be signed, constituting CAX’s achievement of Construction Complete. A Final Closeout Report for the facility will be executed once the remedial action objectives for all of the sites have been achieved, after which time the facility will be eligible for deletion from the National Priorities List (NPL).
CAX is located on the site of the former Penniman Shell Loading Plant, which was a large powder- and shell-loading facility operated during World War I. The Penniman facility closed in 1918, and between 1918 and 1943, the property was used for farming or left idle until CAX was commissioned in 1943 as a satellite unit of the Naval Supply Depot to provide bulk storage facilities and serve as an assembly and overseas shipping point throughout World War II. At inception, CAX occupied approximately 3,349 acres. Several portions of the original base have since been declared surplus and transferred to other government jurisdictions, including the National Park Service, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and York County. CAX is currently comprised of 2,634 acres. CAX is divided into two separate parcels, with the larger parcel situated along the banks of the York River. Almost all of the activities at CAX (administration, training, maintenance, support, and housing) take place in this portion of the Installation. The smaller parcel is located south of the Colonial National Historic Parkway. This area contains Jones Pond and is used mainly as a watershed protection area. In July 1987, CAX was designated the Hampton Roads Navy Recreational Complex. Today, the mission of CAX includes supplying Atlantic Fleet ships and providing recreational opportunities to military and civilian personnel.
In 1975, the Department of Defense began the Navy Assessment and Control of Installation Pollutants (NACIP) Program to assess past hazardous and toxic materials storage and disposal activities at military installations. In 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was passed by Congress to address potentially adverse human health and environmental impacts from hazardous waste management and disposal practices. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or the "Superfund" Act, was passed in 1980 to investigate and remediate areas resulting from past hazardous waste management practices. CAX initiated its environmental study, investigation, and restoration efforts in 1984 by conducting an Initial Assessment Study. The NACIP program was changed in 1986 to reflect the requirements of the CERCLA as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). In response to SARA, the IRP was established to address releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants on installations and former properties resulting from past practices that may pose risks to human health and the environment. The IRP is currently addressed under the ERP. Under the IRP, Confirmation Studies were completed in 1986 and 1988, and a facility Interim Remedial Investigation was completed in 1991.
Based on the results of a Hazard Ranking System evaluation, CAX was listed on the USEPA NPL in January 2001. Following the inclusion of CAX on the NPL, the CAX IRP Partnering Team, now referred to as the CAX ERP Partnering Team, was chartered to streamline the cleanup of the former disposal sites by using consensus-based site management strategies during the CERCLA process.
The team consists of representatives from the Navy, USEPA, and VDEQ. A Federal Facility Agreement (FFA), negotiated between the Navy, USEPA, and VDEQ, was signed in March 2005. Under the FFA, all past and future work at ERP sites, Solid Waste Management Units, and AOCs will be reviewed and a course of action for future work requirements at each site will be developed.
The Department of Defense has established the MRP under the Defense ERP to address munitions and explosives of concern and munitions constituents at sites other than operational ranges. The Department of Defense and the Navy are establishing policy and guidance for munitions and response actions under the MRP; however, the key program drivers developed to date include that munitions response actions will be conducted under the process outlined in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Control Contingency Plan, as authorized by CERCLA. Therefore, the Navy will work with the CAX ERP Partnering Team to follow the CERCLA process to address MRP sites identified at CAX.