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Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Environmental Restoration Program Public Website


This web site is part of the Navy's active efforts to provide accurate, timely, and comprehensive information on the Navy’s Environmental Restoration Program (NERP) that includes both the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and the Munitions Response Program (MRP) currently underway at Naval Shipyard (NAVSHIPYD) Portsmouth.


The Shipyard is located in Kittery, Maine, at the mouth of the Great Bay Estuary (known locally as Portsmouth Harbor). Referred to on nautical charts as Seavey Island, this military facility located in the Piscataqua River is attached by a rock causeway to Clark’s Island. The Piscataqua River is a tidal estuary that forms the southern border between Maine and New Hampshire.


The Shipyard is engaged in the conversion, overhaul, and repair of submarines. The long history of shipbuilding within the Portsmouth Harbor dates back to 1690, when the first warship launched in the Colonies, the Faulkland, was built. The Shipyard was established as a government facility in 1800 and served as a repair and building facility for ships during the Civil War. The first government-built submarine was designed and constructed at the Shipyard during World War I. More information on the Shipyard is available on the NAVSEA Portsmouth Naval Shipyard website.

Regulatory History

The Navy is the lead agency for site investigation and cleanup at the Shipyard, with formal oversight provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is a key stakeholder.

The Navy initiated the Naval Assessment and Control of Installation Pollutants Program (NACIP) on September 11, 1980, to identify and control environmental pollution from past use and waste disposal operations at Navy installations. In 1983, a base wide investigation of the Shipyard, called an Initial Assessment Study (IAS), was completed. This study identified several potential disposal areas at the Shipyard that warranted further investigation. In March 1989, the Shipyard was issued a Corrective Action Permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) of 1984 that identified 13 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMU) requiring investigation.

The Shipyard was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) effective May 13, 1994. Studies subsequent to this listing have been conducted under the authority of the Comprehensive, Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Consistent with the transition from RCRA to CERCLA, the SWMU terminology has been replaced with “Site”. Similar sites have been grouped into Operable Units (OU). CERCLA, or the "Superfund" Act, was passed to investigate and remediate areas resulting from past hazardous waste management practices. 

The NACIP program was changed in 1986 to reflect the requirements of the CERCLA as amended by SARA. This revised program is referred to as the NERP.

Environmental History

The following is a summary of major investigations and studies to date:

Event/Document Author/Date
IAS completed Weston, June 1983
Confirmation Study completed LEA, June 1986
RCRA Facility Assessment completed Kearney & Baker/TSA, July 1986
HSWA Correct Action Permit issued USEPA, March 1989
RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) Report completed McLaren/Hart, April 1992
Onshore Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) completed McLaren/Hart, August 1992
RFI Report Addendum completed McLaren/Hart, June 1993
Public Health and Environmental Risk Evaluation completed McLaren/Hart, March 1994
The Shipyard was placed on the NPL May 31, 1994
Offshore Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) completed McLaren/Hart, May 1994
RFI Data Gap Report completed Halliburton NUS, November 1995
Air Monitoring Report completed Brown & Root Environmental, June 1996
No Further Action Decision Document for SWMU 21 signed Navy, October 1996
No Further Action Decision Document for SWMU 12, 13, 16, and 23 signed Navy, July 1997
Interim Record of Decision (ROD) for Operable Unit (OU) 4 signed Navy, May 1999
Federal Facilities Agreement signed (superseded HSWA Corrective Action Permit) Navy, September 1999
Interim Offshore Monitoring Plan completed TtNUS, October 1999
Onshore/Offshore Contaminant Fate and Transport Modeling completed TtNUS, December 1999
Estuarine ERA for Offshore Areas of Concern (AOC) completed NCCOSC, May 2000
ROD for OU3 signed Navy, August 2001
No Further Action Decision Document for Site 26 signed Navy, August 2001
No Further Action Decision Document for Site 27 signed Navy, August 2001
First Five-Year Review Report completed TtNUS, June 2007
No Further Action Decision Document for the Jamaica Island Landfill Impact Area signed  Navy, February 2008
ROD for OU1 signed Navy, September 2010
ROD for OU2 signed Navy, September 2011
Second Five-Year Review Report Completed Tetra Tech, May 2012
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