West Virginia Ordnance Works

The West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) produced trinitrotuluene (TNT) from 1942 to 1945 for use during World War II. It is located in Mason County, along the western border of West Virginia, approximately 6 miles north of Point Pleasant. The discovery of a red water seep in 1981 led to the discovery of contamination and inclusion on the National Priorities List as a Superfund site. Since then, the site has been remediated by the U.S. Army under its Defense Environment Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency in site remediation, but all actions must be agreed to by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region III and the WV Division of Environmental Protection.

The WVOW covers approximately 8,323 acres. The Clifton F. McClintic Wildlife Management Area, operated by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), occupies approximately 1/3 of this property, roughly 2,788 acres. This area is set aside for public recreational use, including fishing, hunting and hiking. US Route 62 borders the site to the west, with various county roads intersecting the area. The WVOW is situated mainly within a rural setting, and much of the land is used for agriculture with scattered residential and light commercial business use. A few areas of undisturbed forest are also present.

Mason County, the State of West Virginia, and private individuals and/or companies currently own sections of the site.

The purpose of this web site is to provide information about remediation efforts to the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), a group of concerned citizens in the WVOW area and the public.

History

Construction of the West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) began in March, 1942. From 1942 to 1945, the WVOW was operated by the Army for the production of the explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT). The TNT plant was a complete operating unit. Raw materials were shipped in and the TNT produced at the site was transported to other government loading plants for insertion into various munitions. TNT production began in October, 1942. The facility had a design capacity of 720,000 pounds of TNT per 24 hour period, and operated 7 days a week, 3 shifts per day.

TNT production was suspended at the facility in August, 1945, following the end of World War II. The property was transferred from the War Department to War Assets Administration in late 1946 and declared surplus. The facilities were salvaged or disposed after this time.

Since May 1981, several environmental studies have been performed at the WVOW site by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and others. The purpose of these studies was to determine the nature and extent of contaminants present due to TNT manufacturing activities. Contaminants listed in those reports included nitro-aromatic residues including TNT, DNT (dinitrotoluene), spent acids, metals, and other waste products associated with the TNT manufacturing process. The site was placed on the National Priority List in 1983.

Projects & Status

Table of Projects and Status in Operable Units

Operable Unit (OU) #

WVOW Area(s)

 Status of Project
 OU-01
  • Burning Grounds Area
  • TNT Manufacturing Area
  • Former Red/Yellow Water Lines
    (Capping/Excavation and Flaming)
 Long-Term Management
 OU-02
  •  Red Water Reservoirs (Capping)
 Long-Term Management
 OU-03
  • Yellow Water Reservoir
  • Barren Areas (Capping)
 Long-Term Management
 OU-04
  • Red Water Area (Groundwater Treatment)
  • Yellow Water Area (Groundwater Treatment)
  • Pond 13/Wet Well Area (Groundwater Treatment)
 Remedial Action - Operation
 OU-05
  •  Pond 13/Wet Well (Capping)
 Long-Term Management

 OU-06
 (ENV-06)

  •  OU 1, 2, 3, and 5 (Wetland Mitigation)
 Pond Construction Complete - Removed from NPL Boundary
 OU-07
  •  Point Pleasant Landfill

 Potentially Responsible Party Action handled by EPA

 OU-08
  •  TNT Manufacturing Area (Soils)
 Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study
 OU-09
  •  TNT Manufacturing Area (Groundwater)
 Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study
 OU-10
  • Acids Area
  • Toluene Storage Area
  • WVOW Shop Areas
 Removed from NPL Boundary
 OU-11
  •  Sellite Plant and Vicinity
 Removed from NPL Boundary
 OU-12
  • North and South Powerhouses
  • Ash Pits
  • Disposal Dumps
 Removed from NPL Boundary

 

 

Table of Projects and Status in Expanded Site Investigations

Expanded Site
Investigation #

WVOW Area Status of Project
ESI-01 Magazine Area Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-02 Acid Dock Area Partially Responsible Party - Action being handled by EPA
ESI-03 Tract 21 Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-04 Red Water Outfall Sewer Line Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-05 Refueling Depot Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-06 Motorpool / Maintenance Area Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-07 Sewage Plant Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-08 Washout Area and Dump Site (TNT Area) Construction completed; groundwater to be addressed under OU-9
ESI-09 Railroad Classification Yards Removed from NPL Boundary
ESI-10 Additional Areas of Concern Decision Document signed - Required Actions Completed

Site Maps

West Virginia Ordnance Works - Operable Unit 3            
                   
         
West Virginia Ordnance Works - Operable Unit 2        West Virginia Ordnance Works - Operable Unit 2
     

As a step in the TNT purifying process, TNT was washed in a cold water/sellite mixture (red water). The red water was discharged directly to the Ohio River through a pipe located about one foot offshore. Three red water storage lagoons or reservoirs were constructed in the northwest corner of WVOW to provide temporary storage of red water when the flow in the Ohio River was too low to provide proper dilution. Only two of the three reservoirs were used. Red water contained high levels of nitroaromatics, sulfate, and nitrate. As a result the red water contaminated the reservoirs' underlying sediments.

The Record of Decision (ROD), signed by the USEPA and the Army in 1988, required the following remedies for the red water reservoir area (RWR):

  • Relocation of Ponds 1 and 2;
  • Extraction and treatment of the groundwater until the criteria for nitroaromatics are attained;
  • Effluent from the treatment system will meet the surface water criteria and will be monitored to maintain compliance;
  • Ponds 1 and 2 will be filled with clean fill (soil and clay cover).

In August 1990, the Army, acting through the USACE, contracted OHM to perform capping activities for the Red Water Reservoirs. Site work began in June 1991, and was completed in October 1992.

Construction of the groundwater extraction and groundwater treatment plant began in the summer of 1995 and was completed in February 1997. Today, the treatment plant discharges into a sedimentation basin below the Red Water Reservoir caps for wetlands treatment to remove metals from the plants' treated effluents. Although this pond had brimmed with wildlife and plants several years earlier, it was dry before the treatment plant started. However, the discharge of treated water into the basin has re-established this area as prime wetland habitat. Sampling results have shown that the wetland reduces metals to non-detect or to below discharge criteria established by the state, proving that the treatment system is benefiting the wetlands.

     

As a step in the TNT purifying process, TNT was washed in a cold water/sellite mixture (red water). The red water was discharged directly to the Ohio River through a pipe located about one foot offshore. Three red water storage lagoons or reservoirs were constructed in the northwest corner of WVOW to provide temporary storage of red water when the flow in the Ohio River was too low to provide proper dilution. Only two of the three reservoirs were used. Red water contained high levels of nitroaromatics, sulfate, and nitrate. As a result the red water contaminated the reservoirs' underlying sediments.

The Record of Decision (ROD), signed by the USEPA and the Army in 1988, required the following remedies for the red water reservoir area (RWR):

  • Relocation of Ponds 1 and 2;
  • Extraction and treatment of the groundwater until the criteria for nitroaromatics are attained;
  • Effluent from the treatment system will meet the surface water criteria and will be monitored to maintain compliance;
  • Ponds 1 and 2 will be filled with clean fill (soil and clay cover).

In August 1990, the Army, acting through the USACE, contracted OHM to perform capping activities for the Red Water Reservoirs. Site work began in June 1991, and was completed in October 1992.

Construction of the groundwater extraction and groundwater treatment plant began in the summer of 1995 and was completed in February 1997. Today, the treatment plant discharges into a sedimentation basin below the Red Water Reservoir caps for wetlands treatment to remove metals from the plants' treated effluents. Although this pond had brimmed with wildlife and plants several years earlier, it was dry before the treatment plant started. However, the discharge of treated water into the basin has re-established this area as prime wetland habitat. Sampling results have shown that the wetland reduces metals to non-detect or to below discharge criteria established by the state, proving that the treatment system is benefiting the wetlands.

         


 

 

Team

•WVOW Project Manager

 USACE Huntington District

 CELRH-PM-PP-P

 502 8th Street

 Huntington, WV 25701-2070

 304-399-5388

 WVOW@usace.army.mil

WVOW Technical Coordinator

 USACE Huntington District

 CELRH-EC-CE

 502 8th Street

 Huntington, WV 25701-2070

 304-399-5760

  • USEPA Region III

Federal Facilities Branch

ATTN: 3HW50

1650 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

215-814-3361

  • USEPA Region III

Federal Facilities Branch

ATTN: 3HW50

1650 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

215-814-3361

Photos

WV Ordnance Works Construction Photos 1940's

https://www.flickr.com/photos/huntingtoncorps/albums/72157677542663897