By John S. Verrico, NAVFAC Public Affairs Officer
WASHINGTON A team of Navy environmental experts led by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington began the final phase of an environmental restoration project at the Naval Recreation Center, Solomons. This $3.5 million project will restore approximately 30 acres of land located in the southern portion of the installation.
The project started a few years ago with preliminary environmental assessments, which included site investigations including the sampling of soil and groundwater, said NAVFAC Washington Environmental Team Leader Malgorzata Wright. The Navy determined a course of action based upon these extensive studies and in coordination with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE).
The project will include a series of removal actions beginning with the excavation of the old landfill located next to the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge. The Navy installed erosion and sediment controls, including super silt fence and an earthen dike, and began clearing brush and debris at the site. The Navy will collect a series of soil samples to determine the environmental condition of the site and guide the depth of excavation.
An estimated 13,500 tons (~8,700 cubic yards) of debris is expected to be excavated from the old landfill area including soil, construction debris, scrap metal, and possibly inert ordnance. The construction debris will be transported off-site. However, not all of the excavated material from the landfill area will require off-site disposal. The soil material, properly segregated, will be used in the backfill operation. In the event that any inert ordnance is found, it will be safely demilitarized by certified Navy experts, appropriately packaged and transported to Montgomery Scrap in Baltimore for proper treatment and disposal in a smelter. The segregated scrap material will be shipped to a metal recycling facility for processing.
Due to the nature of the removal action, the project could potentially impact some wetlands but the project will be closely monitored by a wetland scientist to ensure environmental compliance. The Navy anticipates disturbances to the wetlands will be temporary and ultimately result in no net loss of wetland area.
As a matter of fact, the wetland impact may be quite positive in reality, said Wright. The Navy foresees the removal of debris and contaminated soils as a potential opportunity to create additional wetland areas.
The excavation project will last approximately three months. Wetland restoration will begin in spring 2008 after the last frost and last for approximately two months.
The Navy is committed to the provision of a safe, healthy and accident-free workplace during the excavation and site restoration process, said Cmdr. Stephanie Jones, NAVFAC Washingtons Public Works Officer for Naval Air Station Patuxent River (which includes the Solomons Complex). A full-time Safety Officer will be on site during the project execution to ensure that all safety programs designed to protect the safety of workers and visitors are properly implemented.