allegany ballistics laboratory (usnavy)


ABL is a 1,628-acre facility in West Virginia, located in the flood plain of the North Branch Potomac River, along the West Virginia and Maryland border. The land surrounding the site is primarily agricultural with some forestry. The facility began operations in 1942, including research, development, and testing of solid propellants and motors for rockets, ammunition, and armaments for the Navy. There are two operating plants at ABL. Plant 1 is owned by the Navy and consists of 1,576 acres. Since 1995, Alliant Tech Systems Inc. (ATK) has operated the plant under contract to the Navy. The remaining 52 acres of ABL (Plant 2) are owned and operated by ATK. Plant 2 is not included as part of EPA's National Priority List (NPL). Many explosive, metals and solvent wastes have been generated at ABL. Until 1978, the majority of these wastes were disposed of on-site. Due to waste disposal and handling practices at the facility, there are several source areas of concern. Several areas within the Active Burning Ground were aggregated as Site 1 due to their proximity and similarity of hazardous substances. Other contaminated areas include two former burning grounds (Sites 2 & 3), a spent photographic solution disposal area (Site 4B), the inert landfill (Site 5), a sensitivity test area/surface water impoundment (Site 6), a beryllium landfill (Site 7), an acid neutralization pit (Site 9), contaminated ground-water production well (Site 10), contaminated groundwater in production well "F" (Site 11) and adjacent contaminated soil (Site 12). Contaminants in soil and groundwater include explosives, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), acids, bases, laboratory and industrial wastes, solvent and metal plating sludge, paints, and thinners. Some contaminants had moved off-site and were detected in the North Branch Potomac River. Five ABL water supply wells, which were found to contain VOCs, were taken out of service. Recent testing of these wells, as well as numerous monitoring wells in the developed area, shows consistent VOC contamination in the groundwater.

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

        Potentially Responsible Parties

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