Feature Article


November 4, 2010

The cleanup of soil and water contamination from an old aviation fuel tank farm at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is nearing completion after nearly 20 years of remediation efforts at the site. Based on the results of the monitoring program of the site, NASA , with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality concurrence, has shut down the active treatment portion of the remedial action for one year to observe groundwater conditions. The old fuel tank farm was operated by the Navy from 1943 until 1959, when NASA acquired the Main Base. NASA used the tank farm, which was located next to one of the runways, until 1982.

NASA began investigating the area for contamination in 1988 and started tank and soil removal in 1991. Treatment of the remaining soil and groundwater contaminated with petroleum by-products began in 1997. During the cleanup process 4,700 tons of contaminated soil was removed and the treatment processes removed 18 tons of petroleum from the soil and groundwater. In addition, natural microscopic organisms were used to destroy approximately 48 tons of petroleum byproducts. During the entire process, NASA monitored the groundwater to ensure that there was no impact to the Town of Chincoteague drinking water wells, which are located east of the site. Most of the groundwater contaminant levels within the site are below the drinking water standards. There is some limited and low level contaminant levels next to the site, which are decreasing over time. Monitoring of groundwater and Town of Chincoteague wells will continue until all of the area groundwater achieves drinking water standards. This could occur as early as 2014.

A FACT SHEET on the Old Aviation Fuel Tank Farm remediation is available on the Internet at: https://code200-external.gsfc.nasa.gov/250-wff/sites/code250-wffe/files/documents/Old AFTF Fact Sheet.pdf or choose the 'Documents' tab on the left side of this page then click on the 'Remediation Program' link.