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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE (AFB)
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
SOLANO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA


SUMMARY

Travis Air Force Base (AFB), in Solano County, adjacent to Fairfield, California, encompassesan area of about 5,025 acres. The base was placed on the EPA National Priorities List in 1989. For environmental cleanup purposes, four Operable Units (OUs) have been delineated. TheseOUs consist of landfills, disposal areas or spill sites, fire fighting training areas, tank storageareas, groundwater contamination and potentially contaminated surface water bodies. Theprimary environmental contaminants found at Travis AFB include solvents, metals and fuels.

There appears to be very limited off-base migration of contaminants, with limited potential forharmful exposure. Institutional controls limit access to on-base source areas, operable units andabandoned structures, and have eliminated possible exposures to other sites of contamination andphysical hazards within Travis AFB. However, if land use changes, the likelihood of humanexposure should be re-evaluated by the Air Force, the EPA, the state of California, or ATSDR.

ATSDR concluded that of the 11 potential exposure scenarios evaluated, there is oneIndeterminate Public Health Hazard situation (because of lack of information), five NoApparent Public Health Hazard situations, and five No Public Health Hazard situations.

The Indeterminate Public Health Hazard situation (because of lack of information) are:

  • possible contamination of fish from the "Duck Pond"

The No Apparent Public Health Hazard situations are:

  • possible indoor air contamination from Storm System B (SD-33) in Buildings 810, 844,and 845
  • possible air contamination at Landfill 1 (LF006)
  • possible soil gas contamination at the North-South Gasoline Station
  • contamination of sediment and water in Union Creek
  • contamination of fish in Union Creek

The No Public Health Hazard situations are:

  • groundwater contamination at Fire Training Area 4 (FT005)
  • groundwater contamination from Landfill 2 (LF 007) Area C
  • groundwater plume at Building 1125 - (SS-30)
  • B-29 crash site
  • Grazing Management Units Areas 7& 8 and Landfill X

ATSDR recommends the following actions:

  • Travis AFB will, as soon as possible, develop use statistics for the "duck pond" todetermine whether anglers catch and consume appreciable amounts of fish from thiswater body. If there are anglers who frequently and regularly use this resource, TravisAFB will, also as soon as possible, consider either limiting consumption, such as throughadvisories suggesting limited consumption or through catch and release restrictions, orwill collect samples of edible fish to determine levels of contaminants present. If samplesare collected, ATSDR will provide an evaluation of the potential for public health hazard.
  •  

  • Travis AFB will continue to monitor groundwater contamination at the three locationsdiscussed in this document, in order to verify the effectiveness of the remediationactivities.
  •  

  • Travis AFB will continue to maintain institutional controls at contamination sites toensure that public access continues to be limited. Institutional controls will remain ineffect until the potential for public health hazard is eliminated.

BACKGROUND

Site Description and History

Travis Air Force Base (AFB) is adjacent to Fairfield, California, in Solano County (See Figure 1). Travis AFB was established in 1943 to service and ferry aircraft to the Pacific War Zones.The base encompasses an area of about 5,025 acres. Travis AFB is a part of the Air MobilityCommand and is host to the 60th Air Mobility Wing. The primary mission of the base is airliftof troops and freight (1).

The population of Solano County is about 340,425, with a total of about 113,425 households (2). The cities of Fairfield and Suisun City (populations about 95,000 and 27,200, respectively) lie tothe west of Travis AFB (See Figure 1). Base housing serves about 3,700 military personnel and4,400 family members. The total civilian worker population for the base is about 3,775 (1).

Immediately outside the base boundaries to the north, east and south, land is used predominantlyfor livestock rangeland, or as wildlife management areas, including extensive wetlands.

In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed Travis AFB on the NationalPriorities List (NPL).(1) Most hazardous waste on Travis AFB is generated by aircraft maintenanceoperations, fuel supplies storage areas, or installation industrial operations (1). For remedialactivity purposes, Travis AFB has delineated four Operable Units (OUs). The sources ofcontamination in these OUs are landfills, disposal areas or spill sites, fire fighting training areas,tank storage areas, groundwater contamination areas and potentially contaminated surface waterbodies (See Figure 2). Appendix B briefly describes the four OUs, and the contaminant sourcesites within each. Included in Appendix B is a brief explanation of the process used todetermine whether an individual site required further evaluation for possible public healthimpacts.

The primary environmental contaminants at Travis AFB are solvents, (including trichlorethylene(TCE)), fuels, metals, and small amounts of low level radioactive wastes.

Contaminated environmental media on-site include soil, surface water and associated sediment,and groundwater. Although public access to the facility is not prohibited, the facility is fencedand not readily accessible around much of its perimeter. On-site OUs are fenced, paved-over orotherwise not easily accessible to the public. Potential for exposure off-site would includegroundwater, surface water and sediment and fish in the surface water bodies. Groundwatercontaminant plumes off-site are not found in areas where water wells are currently in use or havebeen used in the past. Surface water bodies off-site are accessible.

ATSDR Involvement

After entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense (DOD), in1991, ATSDR visited the 96 DOD installations then on the NPL and ranked them according totheir potential public health hazards. ATSDR personnel visited Travis AFB in February, 1991. On the initial visit, ATSDR reviewed the available site-specific information and visuallyinspected the contaminated sites and areas where hazardous substances have been released intothe environment. The focus of the visit was to determine if people could come into contact withsite contaminants at levels that pose a health hazard, and, if needed, to recommend actions tostop or prevent such exposures. Travis AFB received a relatively low priority ranking to initiatea public health assessment in comparison with other DOD installations. The low rankingindicates that no immediate public health hazards were found at Travis AFB. The second visitwas made in September, 1996 to obtain updated environmental information collected duringremedial activities occurring since 1991. ATSDR met with representatives of the Air Force, U.S.EPA and state environmental regulators. ATSDR evaluated the current situations and thepotential for ongoing exposure of the community to contaminants from Travis AFB.

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