The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, has completed its initial analysis of historical documentation and information gathered during site visits and soil samples since peat balls containing petroleum appeared in September on a section of shoreline in Buxton, N.C., near the former U.S. Navy facility.
The Savannah District’s Formerly Used Defense Site Program team continues to coordinate its efforts with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality as investigative efforts progress toward determining any necessary corrective actions.
A Precautionary Health Advisory was issued from approximately 46285 Old Lighthouse Road to the first jetty in Buxton on September 25. Historic military activity occurred in this area during the 1950s and through parts of the 1980s, and samples were taken by the U.S. Coast Guard in September after rangers with Cape Hatteras National Seashore noticed a strong smell of fuel. The testing of the samples indicated the soil contained weathered light fuel oil, a small amount of lubricating oil, petroleum hydrocarbons, and non-petroleum contamination.
While tremendous progress in technologies and techniques addressing environmental contamination have been made throughout the years, currently, there isn’t a fail-proof method that will provide a 100% certainty that all environmental concerns are discovered and can be completely addressed. The Corps stated that the organization will do everything it can to ensure that when its work is complete, human health and the environment are protected.
Independent regulatory agencies provide oversight to the Corps’ work, and the community is an important stakeholder in the process.
“We will continue to work with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality regulators on this matter,” said Carl Dokter, Savannah District’s Formerly Used Defense Sites Program manager. “We are obligated to follow the predetermined processes to reach a consensus with the regulator. Taking immediate action without following the process could result in more problems.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers executes the FUDS program on behalf of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. The FUDS program cleans up properties formerly owned by, leased to, or otherwise possessed, by the United States and then transferred outside of DOD control prior to October 1986.
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