Installation Restoration Program:Savanna Army Depot sites get green light for environmental cleanup

Published Oct. 16, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working at the Savanna Army Depot (SVDA), a 13,062-acre Army Installation in Savanna, Illinois, to conduct Installation Restoration Program (IRP) environmental activities since the early 1990s.

Recently, ten new sites reached a milestone when a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed for those sites allowing cleanup work to begin on four of them and six were deemed No Further Action (NFA) sites.

“It's another step closer to being able to transfer additional property to either U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA),” said Dick Kennard, Louisville District Army Corps of Engineers Geologist.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting the assessment and remediation of site-related contamination as required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and the preparation for transferring ownership of land parcels to other government entities or the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA).

SVDA was placed on the National Priorities List and as a result, CERCLA IRP activities have been ongoing at the Installation since the early 90s. Activities at the installation included the intermittent handling, processing, and storage of munitions, explosives, and industrial chemicals since operations began in 1917 until the termination of the facility’s mission in 1995. In 2000, SVDA officially closed under the BRAC Act and all industrial activities ceased at that time.

As part of the BRAC closure process an installation-wide Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) was conducted that identified areas where storage, release, or disposal of hazardous substances or petroleum products or their derivatives may have occurred. The survey identified areas that required further evaluation. The Corps has been working to assess those sites across the property.

The ten sites in the signed ROD include the liquid propellant burn area, the former Group I Load Line (CF plant) melt and pour facility, pole storage area, contaminated waste processor, former coal storage area, open drum storage area, Ammonium Nitrate Crystallization (CN plant) boiler building with Underground Storage Tanks (USTs), CF plant drilling and boostering building, Group III Load Line (CL plant) compressor building, CF plant generator building.

Only four of these ten sites require remedial action including the pole storage area, the former coal storage area, the open drum storage and the CN plant boiler building with USTs.

The recommended remedial alternative for those sites includes excavation and offsite disposal for unrestricted use. “This helps prevent exposure to any chemicals of concern,” said Kennard.

The sites that require remedial action will be contracted out in the spring of 2014 and work will be executed in the fall of 2014.

The remaining six sites were NFA sites, where no action is needed and the land is ready to be transferred to another entity. Just recently, three additional NFA sites were identified and those will be documented in a NFA ROD to be officially signed in 2014.

“There will still be approximately 55 sites that will require some type of additional remedial investigation, remedial action and/or remediation in place,” said Kennard. “But finding resolutions for these 13 sites is a big step in the right direction.”