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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IDEM > Permitting > Land Permits > Land and Waste Disposal Issues > Site Summaries > Naval Surface Warfare Center - Crane, IN Naval Surface Warfare Center - Crane, IN

A. Background Information

1) Location:
Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, (NSWC) is located near Crane, in south central Indiana, approximately 75 miles south of Indianapolis and 71 miles northeast of Louisville, KY.
2) Size:
NSWC encompasses 62,463 acres.
3) Population:
The current level of employment for NSWC is 4,000 civilian and 30 military personnel. Tenant activities add another 838 civilians and 17 military employees. Approximately 25 military families live on the center. 4) History:
A number of industrial activities have taken place at NSWC since operations began in 1941. Production operations have included the loading of projectiles, bombs, and mines, production of pyrotechnics, and assembly of rockets. Demilitarization operations have included steam wash-out of bombs and projectiles and incineration of small arms ammunition. Other operations have included ordnance disposal (through demolition and burning) solid waste disposal, non-explosive ordnance operations, pesticide utilization, small arms ranges, and vehicle maintenance. Many of the above operations continue currently. US Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) has been conducting investigations at NSWC since 1981.
5) Mission:
The original mission was to prepare, load, renovate, receive, store, and issue all types of ammunition, including pyrotechnics and illuminating projectiles. In 1975 the activity was renamed the Naval Weapons Support-Center Crane. Its mission is to provide quality and responsive engineering, and material support to the fleet for combat systems, microelectric technology, microwave components, electronic warfare, acoustic sensor tests, pyrotechnics, small arms, electronic module tests and systems. In 1977 the Army was appointed as the single service manager for conventional Ammunition. Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) was established to perform the loading, assembly, and storage of ammunition. All other functions remained the responsibility of NSWC.

B. Environmental Issues

On December 23, 1989, the U.S. U.S. EPA issued the federal portion of the final RCRA storage permit(# IN5170023498)for NSWC to the U.S. Navy. The federal portion established the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Corrective Action Requirements and Compliance Schedules. The compliance schedules obligated the U.S. Navy to perform RCRA Facility Investigations (RFIs) at 30 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs), and, if contamination were found, to conduct Corrective Measures Studies (CMS) and implement Corrective Measures if needed. Since the permit was issued, another SWMU (31/001) was identified and remediated. The status of corrective actions at all other SWMUs is "on-going". Clean closure is not expected at any of the sites. US U.S. EPA will not be dealing with SWMUs in production or testing areas, as these areas are exempt.

The 31 SWMUs at NSWC are described briefly as follows:

1. SWMU #01/12 - Mustard Gas Burial Grounds
Several pounds of mustard agent and several pounds of pyrotechnic mixtures containing radioactive thorium nitrate were buried at this site in the mid l950's, and removed in 1974 and 1980. Other complete rounds possibly exist. Organic contamination of the groundwater (including 1,2, DCA, TCE, TCA, bromoform, and dibromochloromethane) is documented.
2. SWMU #02/11 - Dye Burial Grounds
From the 1940's until 1960 approximately 50 tons of dyes (some of which may be toxic or carcinogenic) were dumped into open trenches, 10' wide, 6' deep and 50' long. In 1972 the pits were filled with soil. Some contamination has been documented. Remedial Measures (cap) was proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1995, with approval by U.S. U.S. EPA.
3. SWMU #03/10 - Ammunition Burning Grounds (ABG)
Since the early 1940's, pyrotechnics, explosives, and propellants contaminated materials (from Crane production areas and military readiness stockpiles in the U.S.) have been disposed here by "Open Burning"(OB). In the past, the material was burned on the ground. Operations will continue in this area, but the Navy will do complete Corrective Action as necessary.
4. SWMU #04/12 - McComish Gorge
This is an old inactive unlined landfill that was used for solid waste disposal of timber and other large items not suitable for the sanitary landfill, ordnance burial area, or the demolition area.
5. SWMU #05/03 - Old Burning Pit
From 1942 until 1972, daily refuse was burned at this location (i.e., solid waste disposal). Residue from the burning pit was buried with non burnable metallic items in a gully to the north of the pit. Contaminants at the site are Trans-l, 2, DCE, Chloroform, and TCE.
6. SWMU #06/09 - Demolition Area
High explosives waste munitions have been disposed at this site since the 1940's. As much as 10 tons per day were disposed at this location from 1956 to 1960. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) was found within the range. Major ground water contamination may be from UXO's.
7. SWMU #07/09 - Old Rifle Range
This ten-acre SWMU consists of an open field with three burning pits. Each pit has several burning pans in which "Yellow D" explosive and other explosive contaminated material is burned. Prior to 1986, burning was conducted on the open ground. Reportedly black powder, as well as red and white phosphorous have been destroyed in this area.
8. SWMU #08/17 - Load and Fill Area, Building 106 Pond
A cleaning process, (a caustic wash, a degreaser, and an acid wash) in previous years discharged wastewater into a small unlined pond. The pond overflowed into a neutralizing system and then into the sanitary sewage system. In 1981, cooling water from degreasers was discharged to a storm drain. Samples of the pond effluent revealed high concentrations of heavy metals.
9. SWMU #09/05 - Pesticide Control Area R-150 Tank Bldg. 2189
The SWMU consists of a pest control building and a waste storage tank site in a gravel parking lot where materials were reportedly dumped and buried. The tank was installed in the 1970's and removed in 1983. It stored waste oil and degreasers contaminated with PCB's. Soil borings have shown elevated levels of heavy metals, and monitoring wells have shown presence of Trans-1,2, DCE, and TCE.
10. SWMU #10/15 - Rockeye (RKI)
The Rockeye site is a production facility that loads bomblets and (prior to 1967) 3-inch munitions. Before 1978, wastewater produced from the wash-out of bomb molds was discharged to surface water tributaries. Monitoring wells indicate contamination from RDX and HMX.
11. SWMU #11/00 - Inert Storage Building 225
Building 225 was destroyed by a fire in 1976. Approximately 70,000 pounds of pentachlorophenol, 50,000 gallons of paints, 500 pounds of sodium fluorescein dye, 6,000 gallons of solvents, and other items were stored in the building and entered the surface drainage during the fire. Dyes may be leaching from drainage areas after rain events.
12. SWMU #12/14 - Mine Fill A (MF A)
This cast loading area began operation in 1942. The site is now used for loading and manufacturing of bombs and renovation/rework and demilitarization of munitions items. Prior to installation of the treatment system, wastewater entered surface drainage. Trace TNT and RDX contamination of the soils is documented.
13. SWMU #13/14 - Mine Fill B (MF B)
This is a similar operation as Mine Fill A, though it has not-been in operation since 1973. This site is currently used for renovation/rework of munitions items. The entire ground area is heavily contaminated with explosives, since the sumps flowed directly into ditches and into the watershed.
14. SWMU #14/00 - Sanitary Landfill/Lithium Battery Burial
This active 65 acre landfill began operations in 1972, and replaced the Old Burn Pit. Special approval was granted by ISBH in 1981-1982 to bury neutralized lithium batteries in the landfill. Batteries were excavated in the summer of 1995, with soil removal and disposal off site.
15. SWMU #16/08 - Roads and Grounds Area
This SWMU consists of various material (thought to be construction rubble and pesticide residues) deposited at the base of a hill.
16. SWMU #18/16 - Cast High Explosive Fill/Incinerator Bldg 14B
The major contamination is from demilitarization of 5 inch munitions. Prior to 1978, the wastewater was released to a ditch which drains to a nearby stream. Wastes managed at the site included explosive dust (containing lead, cadmium, and chromium) and ash; hazardous constituents containing TNT, RDX, HMX, and heavy metals: waste water containing RDX, TNT, and ammonium picrate. Two oil-faced rotary kiln incinerators are also located in Building 14B.
17. SWMU #17/04 - PCB Capacitor Burial/Pole Yard
This was the site for the burial of three sealed capacitors containing PCBs in 1977.
18. SWMU #18/13 - Load and Fill Area
This explosives operations area was built in the early 1940's and has been in operation since that time. Managed wastes contain lead, chromium, ammonium picrate, RDX, and HMX. The operations produced particulate releases.
19. SWMU #19/00 - Pyrotechnic Test Area
Functional tests of flares, signals, and other marking devices are performed here. This site also includes a drop test tower. Residual deposits - from quality assurance testing of pyrotechnics are generated at this site. These deposits could include chlorates, dyes, oxidizers, fields, and other by-products of flares and smokes. High potential for air release. Moderate potential for release to soil/groundwater. Since Boggs Creek flows through the site there are concerns for the wetlands, and the potential for surface water contamination exists.
20. SWMU #20/00 - CAAA QA/QC Test Area
QA/QC testing of pyrotechnics devices is conducted at this site. Lead chromate contamination has been identified on the surface of the ground.
21. SWMU #21/00 - DRMO Storage Lot
This active SWMU is a level gravel pad of approximately 20 acres. The majority of material handled here is scrap metal. Possible contamination exists from past practices of placing cutting oil containing metal shavings on the ground.
22. SWMU #22/00 - Lead Azide
This SWMU is an unlined pond into which wastewater containing lead salts was discharged from 1951 to 1977. The pond was periodically pumped out and sediments removed and burned. The pond was closed in 1991.
23. SWMU #23/01 - Battery Shop, Buildings 36 and 38
Spent battery acid and waste oil ( containing lead , sulfates, waste oil, and oily water) from forklift servicing was disposed of by allowing it to flow downhill into Lake Greenwood. No significant levels of lead have been found in the lake water.
24. SWMU #24/00 - Sludge Drying Beds
This SWMU consists of three cells separated by thick concrete walls at the sewage treatment plant. The sludge may have contained hazardous constituents from industrial effluent. A removal was conducted in the summer of 1995, with sludge being disposed of as Special Waste.
25. SWMU #25/07D - Highway 58 Dump Site A
This site is located near the NSWC Salvage Yard. Disposal was apparently along a hillside with an intermittent stream at the base of the hill. Interim measures taken in Spring, 1996.
26. SWMU #26/08D - Highway 58 Dump Site B
This site is located 4 miles south of magazine 871, near bridge 1854/ There are visibly rusted containers (contents unknown) and metal pats at the surface. Interim Actions taken, Spring 1996. During removal actions, asbestos containing material was encountered.
27. SWMU #27/00 - Illuminant B-126
In 1943 all experimental and production work began on 6 "illuminating projectiles". All the drains in the building are connected to a common collector. The collector empties into a large sump outside the building. In 1972 the sump was connected to the sewage treatment plant. Pyrotechnic sludge is taken to the ordnance burning grounds.
28. SWMU #28/00 - Maintenance Shop (Bldg. 1820)
Automotive repairs are performed in this building. The unit consists of several sumps which collect waste oil, wastewater, and several open top solvent cleaning tanks. Potential for release is low.
29. SWMU #29/07 - PCP dip Tank, Bldg. 56
This was used for dipping untreated wood into pentachlorophenol (PCP). The area is presently occupied by a dirt access road and electric vehicle shop. The tank was in use from 1950 and was removed in 1965. Potential for release to soil and groundwater is unknown. Lake Greenwood is nearby, but preliminary soil sampling does not indicate any evidence of a release.
30. SWMU #30/00 - Land Farm
This site is regulated under the State Water program. Sludge from the main wastewater treatment plant are applied to the ground under specific permit conditions. There appear to be wetlands associated with a pond and tributary to Seed Tick Creek.
31. SWMU #31/00 - Compressed Gas Cylinder Site
In 1990 the Navy submitted a report documenting the removal of gas cylinders. A visual inspection indicated no soil contamination.

C. Site Status

US U.S. EPA issued Subpart S regulations in February 1993. This rule created the Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU) to facilitate the cleanup process. The CAMU concept is being used at NSWC to conduct composting without triggering the land ban regulations. NSWC submitted a CAMU permit application to US U.S. EPA focusing on explosives composting at ABG, RKI, and MFA&B. Conceptual design for Bioremediation Facility submitted 1995, deficiencies being addressed in 1996.

A Phase III RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI), Release Characterization for Groundwater, of the Ammunition Burning Ground (SWMU 03/10), was finalized in May 1994. The Phase III RFI evaluated the hydrogeology and degree and extent of contamination to the groundwater from past activities at the ABG.

Accelerated cleanup at ten SWMUs will be initiated through a series of voluntary actions (Interim Measures), proposed in September 1993. A Notice of Deficiency for the proposal was sent by US U.S. EPA 2 December 1994. The proposal lacked detailed plans. There is some concern that a pump and treat system at the ABG will affect the ecology of Little Sulfur Creek, a receptor point near ABG.

The first Restoration Advisory Board meeting was held 22 February 1995; public interest appeared to be minimal. The RAB will eventually replace the Technical Review Committee.

Interim Actions began July 1995 in the Lithium Battery Burial Area, 14/00. IDEM and U.S. U.S. EPA agreed to use the health based cleanup levels (U.S. EPA Region III) for lithium. Waste was sent to a landfill in Kentucky to save time (IDEM Special Waste approval takes 4-6 weeks).

IDEM staff received and began review of the Operational Plan for SWMUs #03/10, #10/15, #13/14 and Soils Bioremediation Facility. On June 12, participated in a site visit.

D. Projected Activities

  • SWMU # 01/12 - Ongoing
  • SWMU # 02/11 - Interim Measures- proposed cap design '95 Risk Assessment in FY 96; LTM FY 97
  • SWMU # 03/10 - Interim Measures-revegetation, propose explosives composting, pump-and-treat groundwater
  • SWMU # 04/12 - Risk Assessment FY 96; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 05/03 - Ongoing; Risk Assessment FY 96; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 06/09 - Ongoing; CMS Fy 98; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 07/09 - CMS FY 98; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 08/17 - Ongoing; RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 09/05 - Ongoing; probable risk assessment FY 96
  • SWMU # 10/15 - Interim Measures- propose explosives composting and possible removal of leachate collection sumps; probable risk assessment FY 96; CMS expected FY 97
  • SWMU # 11/00 - RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 12/14 - Propose explosives composting and confirmatory sampling; CMS FY 97
  • SWMU # 13/14 - Propose explosives composting and confirmatory sampling; CMS FY 97
  • SWMU # 14/00 - Interim Measures-propose geophysical investigation; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 15/06 - RFI Phase II FY 98; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 16/08 - RFI Phase III FY 98
  • SWMU # 17/04 - Interim Measures-propose geophysical investigation
  • SWMU # 18/16 - RFI Phase II FY 98; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 19/00 - RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 20/00 - EMR expected FY 97; RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 21/00 - RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 22/00 - RFI Phase II FY 98
  • SWMU # 23/01 - Interim Measures-propose cleanup of debris and confirmatory sampling; EMR FY 97?
  • SWMU # 24/00 - Interim Measures-proposed soil/sludge sampling for disposal and removal/disposal of concrete pads and piping.
  • SWMU # 25/07D- Propose debris removal and confirmatory sampling; EMR FY 97; RFI Phase III FY 98
  • SWMU # 26/08D- Propose debris removal and confirmatory sampling; EMR FY 97; RFI Phase III FY 98
  • SWMU # 27/00 - RFI Phase III FY 98
  • SWMU # 28/00 - Ongoing; EMR FY 98; RFI Phase III FY 98
  • SWMU # 29/07 - Ongoing; EMR FY 98; RFI Phase III Fy 98; Design FY 98
  • SWMU # 30/00 - Ongoing, Probable Risk Assessment FY 96
  • SWMU # 31/00 - Ongoing
  • SWMU # 32 - Ongoing; EMR FY 98