Hazardous Waste:

Status of Cleanup at the Former West Virginia Ordnance Works

NSIAD-86-22BR: Published: Dec 6, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense program for identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste on its formerly owned properties and provided a status report on the progress of the decontamination at the former West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW).

In 1942, WVOW was established on approximately 8,300 acres of land for the manufacture of TNT. In 1945, it was closed, decontaminated, and portions were sold or transferred. The Clifton F. McClintic State Wildlife Station was established on 2,450 acres which the War Department had deeded to the state of West Virginia. An inspection of the property revealed particles and chunks of TNT, and in 1960 the Army removed some underground TNT processing lines and surface TNT. In 1982, WVOW was included in the national priorities list because of the importance of the McClintic wetlands and the potential hazard to the public at a popular recreation area located within the WVOW boundaries. GAO found that: (1) after some debate over responsibility for cleanup, the Army took the lead role in the area's investigation and decontamination, which appear to be progressing smoothly; (2) Army personnel believe that TNT and TNT manufacturing by-product contamination is limited to McClintic and adjacent acreage owned by West Virginia and the federal government; (3) monitoring walls around the perimeter of these tracts and on privately owned property have detected no contamination; and (4) the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources were satisfied with the Army's actions.

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