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USACE monitors, treats groundwater at Nike CD-78 FUDS site

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published May 21, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a diverse Environmental Program and mission that is dedicated to building a strong, sustainable environment for future generations. As part of that mission, the Louisville District manages, designs and executes a full range of cleanup and protection activities such as cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous, toxic or radioactive waste or ordnance through the Formerly Used Defense Sites program, also known as FUDS.

Nike CD-78 is a formerly used defense site located northwest of Oxford, Ohio, in Butler County and was determined to be eligible for the FUDS program in January 1992. Since 2008 the USACE Louisville District has been monitoring and treating groundwater contamination at the site to protect human health and the environment.  

Nike CD-78 was previously owned by the Department of Defense and was used as a Nike-Hercules missile site for the air defense of the nearby Cincinnati and Dayton areas. The facility was constructed in 1959 and was operational as a Nike battery from 1959 until approximately 1970, when it was deactivated.

“The site had eight aboveground structures, a bermed area containing the Former Acid Refueling Station, and three underground missile magazines,” said Valerie Doss, Louisville District project manager. “The U.S. Army deactivated the site in 1970 and ownership was transferred to Miami University in Ohio.”

Miami University has maintained the site since that time and has been using it as a teaching research facility, a storage area for university property, a small arms firing range for Miami University and City of Oxford security personnel, and the location of the transmitting antennae for the Miami University radio station, Doss added.  

According to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s website, due to an investigation of all former Nike Missile sites by Law Environment Services, which found high levels of volatile organic compounds in ground water, surface water, and soil around launcher areas, a remedial investigation/feasibility study was carried out for Nike CD-78 to properly identify the specific contaminants present.

Upon completion of the Remedial Investigation in 2002, and Feasibility Study in 2003, it was determined in the 2007 Decision Document that Remedial Action Objectives were necessary for groundwater to prevent ingestion of and skin contact with contaminants of concern in groundwater at concentrations greater than their remedial levels, and to restore the groundwater aquifer to levels below remedial levels for COCs. RAOs were also necessary for the former missile magazines to manage and dispose of impacted magazine water in compliance with all applicable laws and any relevant and appropriate requirements to investigate the magazines as a potential source area for nearby groundwater contamination; to eliminate the potential for the magazines to be a source of further contamination; and eliminate the potential of reintroducing and isolating contaminated groundwater in the magazines.

“We completed the Remedial Action-Construction phase in 2007-2008, and the Remedial Action-Operation commenced in 2008 and continues today,” Doss said.

The Louisville District Nike CD-78 project is currently in the RA-O phase of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act process.  

“The current approved remedial action for groundwater impact is Monitored Natural Attenuation,” said Doss. “MNA is a common groundwater remediation technology used for treating dissolved groundwater contaminants.”

In 2015, USACE began a Remedial Optimization Study at the former Nike CD-78 to further assess what other remedies might assist in achieving a more timely Response Complete.  

“In addition to MNA, the ROS continues to the present,” said Doss. “The ROS is needed to assist in the evaluation of an alternate remedial technology for impacted ground water at the subject property, and at the impacted western adjoining farm property.”  

The team agrees projects like this are important to the Corps of Engineers, local residents, and the environment.

“We have an obligation to remediate past Department of Defense contamination,” said Mark Hauser Louisville District environmental engineer and contracting officer’s representative for the project. “It is important to the community to ensure a safe and healthy environment.”

According to Doss, the project is expected to be completed in 2027 with a remaining estimated cost of approximately $3.5 million.