July 7, 2020

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Old Munitions at Webster Field: Public Comment Sought


Public comment is sought on clean-up of hazards remaining at a former aerial bombing range from World War II on Webster Field in St. Inigoes, MD.

The public comment period is now on the Navy’s and EPA’s Proposed Remedial Action Plan  will remain open through Oct. 5, 2019. A public meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on October 8, 2019, at the Frank Knox Employee Development Building 2189, Room 100, to present the  clean-up plan and answer questions.

During World War II, an aerial bombing target, the Former Aerial Bombing Range, was located adjacent to and just south of the runways on the southern half of the Webster Field Annex facility. The Former Aerial Bombing Range(referred to in the Navy and EPA documents as Site UXO-0001), contained three observation towers and was used for 5 to 8 years in the 1940s and early 1950s. Aerial photographs from 1954 show that the access roads to the observation towers were overgrown, implying that the range was no longer in use by 1954. The size and configuration of the former range is unknown, but the original 21-acre boundary for the Former Aerial Bombing Range was estimated based on the locations of the three observation towers.

The findings of the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) and the results of the removal actions in the northern farm field and southern portions of the Former Aerial Bombing Range, indicate that there is unacceptable risks to human health or the environment remaining in the 12.4 acres forested wetland area in the middle portion of the site. Therefore, “Action” for land use controls of the forested wetland portion is proposed for the Former Aerial Bombing Range and surrounding area.

Proposed Remediation Action Plan describe the background and rationale for the selection of the remedy proposed by the Navy and US Environmental Protection Agency. The plan includes solicitation of public comments on the remedy.

The public is encouraged to comment on the plan. The final remedy will be selected only after the public comment period has ended. An alternative remedy may be selected for the Former Aerial Bombing Range only after all comments have been received from the public. Relevant environmental documents for the Former Aerial Bombing Range, including final technical reports and the Proposed Remediation Action Plan, are available at the following repositories.

Naval Air Station Patuxent River Library, 222690 Cedar Point Road, Building 407, Patuxent River, MD 20629, (301) 342-1927. Open Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

St. Mary’s County Public Library, Lexington Park Branch, 21677 FDR Blvd., Lexington Park, MD 20653, (301) 863-8188. Open Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Comments may be written and mailed (postmarked by the closing date of October 5, 2019) to any of the following points of contact:

Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Affairs Officer, Attn: Patrick Gordon, 22268 Cedar Point Road, Building 409, PAO, Patuxent River, MD 20670-1154.

Maryland Department of the Environment, Attn: Mrs. Jenny Herman, Federal Facilities Division, Hazardous Waste Program, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 645, Baltimore, MD 21230-1719.

For further information, contact the Naval Air Station Public Affairs Officer at 301-757-3343 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.

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