Photo: Photo courtesy of Hana Environmental

Dredging Part of the AWI Cleanup Plan

The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia have entered into an agreement under which the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Virginia will recover nearly $64 million to address cleanup costs at the Atlantic Wood Industries (AWI) Superfund Site in Portsmouth, Va.

In a proposed consent decree filed yesterday in federal court, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of the Navy will pay EPA $55.3 million for cleanup costs, and pay Virginia $8.5 million for past costs and future activities Virginia will conduct at the site.

The AWI site, located on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and immediately north of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Southgate Annex, was the former location of a wood treating facility and includes approximately 50 acres of land and more than 30 acres of river sediments.

The EPA-approved plan for the cleanup of contaminated soils, river sediments, and groundwater at the site includes: construction of an offshore sheet pile wall; dredging with consolidation and capping of contaminated sediments behind the wall and at the west portion of the site; excavation or on-site treatment of contaminated soils; monitoring natural attenuation of ground water and natural recovery of contaminated sediments; operation and maintenance of the remedy; and land-use controls.

The agreement was reached under the federal Superfund law — formally known as the Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) — which requires landowners, current and former operators, waste generators and waste transporters responsible for contaminating a Superfund site to clean up the site or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup activities.