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Naval Amphibious Base Coronado

Environmental Restoration Program Public Website

This website provides background information on the Department of the Navy’s (Navy) Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) sites at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado. The overarching goal of the Navy’s ERP is to protect human health and the environment from past hazardous waste practices and releases at Navy Installation Restoration Program (IRP), Munitions Response Program (MRP), and Underground Storage Tank (UST) program sites. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southwest in San Diego, California manages the Navy’s ERP at NAB Coronado, a Naval Base Coronado Outlying Activity. Thirteen sites have been identified and investigated under the Navy’s ERP, and four of the sites are closed. These sites include IRP sites, MRP sites, and UST sites.

Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1976, the first of the major statutes enacted that addresses environmental issues at Navy installations. The act was designed to manage disposal of wastes that were being generated and as such addresses corrective actions for leaking USTs that used to contain fuels and other petroleum products. The management of hazardous substances at operating facilities is also regulated under RCRA and evaluated through RCRA facility assessments.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, was established in 1980 to provide a mechanism for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous waste and prevent contamination of future sites by assigning liability to responsible parties. The NAB IRP and MRP sites identified for the Navy’s ERP were or are currently being addressed under CERCLA.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended the CERCLA legislation in 1986. Among other changes, SARA established the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) which is managed by the Office of the Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense, Installations and Environment. The DERP cleans up hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, and military munitions remaining from past activities at military installations and formerly used defense sites.

The Navy is the current landowner of NAB Coronado and the lead federal agency working with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Regional Water Quality Control Board in accordance with the CERCLA process to collect and evaluate environmental data addressing issues related to past releases at each IRP and MRP site. The Regional Water Quality Control Board acts as the lead state regulatory agency for the IRP and UST program sites and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is the state regulatory agency primarily responsible for overseeing the MRP sites at NAB Coronado.

NAB Coronado History

NAB Coronado is in San Diego County, California, immediately southwest of the City of San Diego on the Silver Strand peninsula, which separates Glorietta and San Diego Bays from the Pacific Ocean. The city of Coronado borders the base to the north and the Silver Strand State Beach lies to the south. California State Highway 75 bisects the facility into a rough-water beachfront to the west and still-water beachfront and harbor areas to the east, where the major operations of the facility occur.

In June of 1943, the Secretary of the Navy authorized the establishment of the Amphibious Training Base in the San Diego area to meet wartimes demands for trained landing craft crews. These crews were deployed to the South Pacific area of operations, where their successful and historical efforts contributed to the conclusion of World War II. The streets of the base bear the names of those famous battles which led to the defeat of the Japanese Empire including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Tulagi, and Bougainville, among others.

The base was renamed Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado in 1946. Its primary mission was changed to providing major administrative and logistical support to the operating forces, tenant commands, organizations, and other U.S. and allied units located on the base and to conducting research and tests of newly developed amphibious equipment.

Support to amphibious, unconventional, in-shore and riverine warfare, special warfare, and other related training and operations is available to over 30 tenant commands at NAB Coronado. These include major commands such as Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is responsible for the training, maintenance, and crews of the approximately 90 ships of the Pacific Fleet and Commander Naval Special Warfare Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Also located at the base are the Naval Expeditionary and Naval Special Warfare units of the Pacific Fleet and headquarters for elite maritime special operation forces such as the Navy's SEAL team.

NAB Coronado consists of approximately 370 acres of developed lands and 257 acres of coastal beaches leased from the state and regularly used for naval training exercises. One of only two Navy amphibious training bases in the U.S., the base is home to about 5,000 personnel and is composed of the Main Base, training beaches, a California least tern preserve, recreational marina, enlisted family housing, and a state park. Amphibious training is conducted south of the Main Base on both bayside and surfside beaches. The bayside beachfront and harbor area is mostly composed of fill materials dredged from San Diego Bay in the early 1940s.

A least tern nesting preserve is located on North and South Delta Beach between the NAB Marina and Main Base. The beach was designated a critical habitat in 1984 pursuant to the Endangered Species Act for the Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern. To support the recovery of these species, the Navy now physically marks nesting areas and reschedules training to other areas during nesting season.

Environmental Restoration Program Background

Environmental investigations and restoration activities have been ongoing at NAB Coronado since the mid-1980s. A 1986 report documented an initial assessment study, the first major environmental investigation undertaken at the base. Five potentially contaminated sites designated as IR Sites 1 through 5, were originally identified at NAB Coronado. IR Site 6 was added to the IR Program in 1995. Remedies and monitoring are currently in-place at IR 2, 3, and 4. IR Site 5, which also has a remedy in-place, was transferred to the MRP at NAB Coronado and is now referred to as MRP Site 5 South Delta and North Delta. IR Sites 1 and 6 are closed.

During a 2009 preliminary assessment, MRP Sites 13 and 14, also referred to as Disposal Area South and Former Rifle/ Pistol Range, were identified on archival maps from 1941 to 1953 because of the potential for a release of munitions constituents. A follow-up 2012 site Inspection recommended further action at both sites. MRP Site 13 is closed with no further action required. Investigations were carried out at MRP Site 14 and a time-critical removal action addressing soils was conducted in 2022. An offshore remedial investigation is underway at MRP Site 14.

Four sites consisting of the NAB Former Fuel Farm, Building 18 UST, Building 299 UST, and Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) 1022 / Building 346 Sump sites were referred collectively as UST 2 in a 2013 internal background research report produced for the Navy. AST 1022 and the Building 346 Sump sites were originally separate sites but were combined into a single site after 2013. Each of the five individual sites was discovered in the late 1980s or early 1990s when releases of petroleum products were detected or suspected. Three of the former USTs associated with UST 2 site are closed. The Former Fuel Farm site has been closed with no further action required. A groundwater monitoring program has been implemented at the Building 299 UST site.

CLICK HERE for information on the Navy’s ERP.

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