naval surface warfare center - dahlgren

2 MI E OF INTER 301 & 206

NSWC-Dahlgren is approximately 4,300 acres and located 40 miles south of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. This naval facility, established in 1918, conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation of surface ship weaponry. Activities at Main Side, a 2,678-acre area include air operations, ordnance testing, laboratory testing, computer facilities, administrative offices, and residences. The Explosive Experimental Area (EEA), is an isolated testing range located on 1,614 acres. Both areas are separated by the Upper Machodoc Creek. Two aquifers underlying NSWC-Dahlgren provide non-contaminated drinking water to the nearby population: the shallow Nanjemoy aquifer, supplies a small number of private residences, and the deeper Potomac Group aquifer supplies the municipal and NSWC-Dahlgren water systems. Wetlands along Gambo Creek, an unidentified drainage area, and the Potomac River are environmental concerns. Municipal and private wells located within 4 miles of the site supply water to an estimated 6,900 people. The Navy has identified several sources of contamination at NSWC-Dahlgren. The Fenced Ordnance Burial Area (Site 2), was used for burial for excess munitions and has metals detected in the surface soils, in addition to several nearby trenches filled with wastes. The Terminal Range Airplane Park (Site 6), was an area used to store target materials is contaminated with heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) The Disposal/Burn Area (Site 9), a 2 to 3 acre landfill is contaminated with PAHs and the soils and sediment contain phenols, metals, pesticides waste. Site 9 is a threat to the groundwater as well as to the wetlands that surround the landfill. Hideaway Pond (Site 10) contains sediment and fish which are contaminated with mercury. The Chemical Burn Area (Site 12), was used for decontamination of testing materials and has 1,1,1 trichloroethane (TCA) in the alluvial aquifer below the site. The Chemical Waste Evaporation Pond (Site 14) was used for the disposal of decontaminated chemicals from 1967 until the late 1970s. The 1400 Area Landfill (Site 17), 5 to 10 acres in size, received municipal waste for three years in the 1970s and canisters of mercury may have been disposed of in this area. Low levels of mercury were detected in groundwater underlying Site 17 and in stream sediments nearby. The Transformer Draining Area (Site 19), where electrical transformer oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was drained has PCB contamination to a depth of 4 feet. The Former Electroplating Waste Underground Storage Tank (Site 20) has minor solvent contamination in the groundwater. The Pesticide Rinse Area (Site 25), where pesticide containers were rinsed is contaminated with pesticides. The Lead Contamination Area (Site 37) contains used sand from firing ranges with residual heavy metals as contaminants. Landfill A: Stump Dump Road (Site 46) used in the 1940's and 1950's for general disposal has PAH, PCB, and heavy metal contamination. The Fill Areas Northeast EEA (Site 50) is a small burial dump that has PAH and heavy metal contamination. The Gambo Creek Ash Dump (Site 61a) where residual ash was deposited, may contain heavy metals, especially mercury and is in contact with sediments in Gambo Creek. There are also six sites that are related to the former use of munitions, including depleted uranium, and explosives. Site Responsibility Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of the Federal government.

Hazardous Ranking Score

50 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 3
Within the region: (800) 438-2474
Outside the region: (215) 814-5000

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


        Average Income


        Occupied homes

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