Today (May 14, 2021) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register Notice (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/14/2021-10133/deletions-from-the-national-priorities-list) finalizing its proposal to delete 11,934 acres of the 27,827 acre Fort Ord Superfund site from the National Priorities List (NPL). This partial deletion includes only portions of the site where cleanup of military munitions and soil pollution have been completed. The partial deletion became effective upon rule publication.
EPA policy allows for these cleaned up areas to be deleted separately from contaminated water and soil gas below the ground. As you’re all aware, the Army will continue to clean up the groundwater and soil gas on the 11,934 acres included in this deletion. It will also clean up pollution at the remaining 15,893 acres of the site. Both the groundwater and soil cleanup for the 11,934 acres, and the entirety of the 15,893 acres, are still in the Superfund program and on the NPL.
As you may recall, EPA proposed the partial deletion in the Federal Register in November 2020 which kicked off a 30-day public comment period. EPA received seven submissions from five commenters opposing the deletion. Comments included concerns about the timing of the deletion at the end of the Trump Administration and before full site cleanup is achieved, public outreach activities at the site, and lead cleanup. To address the comments, EPA met with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to discuss their concerns related to construction of the Fort Ord Dunes State Park campground and prepared a publicly available responsiveness summary (https://www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-HQ-SFUND-1990-0010-0174) addressing all relevant concerns. EPA is deleting portions of the site because all appropriate response actions have been implemented and no further actions are necessary to protect human health and the environment.
For more information, please see the docket to the Federal Register Notice (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/14/2021-10133/deletions-from-the-national-priorities-list) , or contact Maeve Clancy EPA Region 9,Remedial Project Manager at 415-947-4105 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fort Ord team intends to include information on the deletion in upcoming outreach activities to inform the community.
This is a major milestone in the Superfund process for any site, but for such a large and complex site, it is a huge accomplishment. The deletion process provides many advantages including the removal of the stigma of Superfund and potential opportunities for better redevelopment financing.
The former Fort Ord Army base is adjacent to Monterey Bay in northwestern Monterey County, California, bordering the cities of Seaside, Sand City, Monterey, and Del Rey Oaks to the south and Marina to the north. Fort Ord served primarily as a base for infantry troops (foot soldiers) beginning in 1917 until closure in 1994. When it was in use, Fort Ord operated like a small city. Military training and base facilities (landfill, sewage treatment plant, etc.) conducted at the base resulted in the release of hazardous substances and pollutants into the soil and groundwater. This included sites where munitions and explosives of concern were found or suspected in the soil. The Army has been conducting investigation and cleanup activities at the former Fort Ord under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (also known as CERCLA or Superfund) since 1990, with the oversight of EPA and the State of California.
Below is a map of the National Priority List (Superfund) Partial Deletion areas (in pink) and also shows the jurisdictions. If you’d like a larger map, just click on it.
Below is a map of the Fort Ord Jurisdictions. For a larger map, just click on it.