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Naval Submarine Base, Bangor (Bangor) is located on the Kitsap Peninsula along the east shore ofHood Canal in Kitsap County, Washington. Initial environmental investigations at the base began in1978. By 1987, 22 hazardous waste sites had been identified that required further action. Site A(OU-1) was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in July 1987. Bangor was listed on the NPLin August 1990 and further investigation and cleanup of the remaining sites proceeded inaccordance with the federal Superfund law. The sites have since been grouped into eight OperableUnits to better organize the remedial effort. Operable Units 1- 7 have signed Records of Decisionoutlining current and future cleanup activities. Operable Unit-8 has had remedial activities ongoingsince 1986 and a Record of Decision (ROD) outlining future cleanup is expected by the fall of 2000.

Groundwater Contamination in the Mountain View Road Area

No apparent public health hazard exists for residents in the Mountain View Road area exposedto contaminated groundwater through residential wells. Contaminants originated at the PublicWorks area of Bangor. In 1995, the Navy provided residences within the groundwatercontamination zone connection to the Silverdale public water supply. Groundwater contaminantsoriginating from the Public Works area have moved southeast off-base into the Mountain ViewRoad area. In 1984, 1,3-dinitrobenzene was detected in a residential well in the Mountain ViewRoad area. However, subsequent sampling and analysis of this well could not confirm this detectionand no other wells tested positive for this contaminant. In August 1986, a gasoline recovery systemwas installed in the Public Works area to remove gasoline from groundwater that had leaked froman underground storage tank. No residential wells were sampled at this time.

In February 1994, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the herbicide bromacil were found in anewly installed but unused well. The base immediately provided bottled water to area residents andbegan groundwater investigations that would eventually define a VOC groundwater plume in theMountain View Road area. The primary contaminants of concern in off-base groundwater are 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and benzene.

Hood Canal Shellfish Harvesting

No apparent public health hazard exists for base personnel or off-base shellfish harvesters fromexposure to contaminants in fish and shellfish taken from Cattail Lake or Hood Canal beaches.Sampling and analysis of sediment, fish and shellfish along Hood Canal and Cattail Lake over thepast 10 years has detected very little contamination. Low levels of polycyclic aromatichydrocarbons (PAHs) were found in sediments along with trace levels of phthalates and ordnancecompounds in shellfish from Hood Canal and trout from Cattail Lake.The beaches below the formerlandfill at Floral Point (Site B) are currently not open to shell fishing because of habitat and erosionconcerns. Although sediment and shellfish sampling indicate that the landfill is not a contaminantsource, further sampling of shellfish should be conducted prior to reopening of this beach. Moreshellfish sampling is scheduled for the Floral point area as part of the Record of Decision.

Past Exposure of Workers in Ordnance Disposal Areas

No apparent public health hazard exists for workers who may have been exposed to soil at thehazardous waste sites on base. On-base workers may have been exposed to contaminants in surfacesoil at various sites identified around the base. The primary contaminants of concern in soil atBangor are ordnance compounds found at high levels in soil due to past demilitarization activities.These activities included disposal of ordnance via burning and detonation. Between 1950 and 1970,before worker safety was a serious consideration, workers may have been exposed to contaminantsin soil through accidental ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation of dust. However, since 1970 theOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has done much to improve workingconditions to reduce or eliminate worker exposures to hazardous substances. Site A (OU-1) andSite D (OU-6) contained the highest levels of ordnance in surface soil including 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene(TNT), Royal Demolition Explosive (RDX), 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT) and 2,6-dinitrotoluene(2,6-DNT).

Cleanup has either been completed or is ongoing at sites which contained contaminants in soil abovelevels of potential health concern. Those workers using personal protective equipment or who werenot frequently involved in demilitarization activities at Sites A and D would have had significantly less exposure.

Olympic View/Old Bangor, Vinalnd and On-base Supply Wells

Residential and public supply wells in Vinland do not appear to be at risk from groundwatercontaminants at Site A. Site A is located on the northern border of the base adjacent to thecommunity of Vinland. A groundwater plume consisting mainly of RDX exists in both perched andshallow groundwater. Groundwater in the shallow aquifer near Site A is estimated to moveprimarily to the west discharging to Cattail Lake. Ongoing remediation and monitoring ofgroundwater will help ensure that drinking water wells in the Vinland area are protected.

Ordnance compounds originating from Site F (OU-2) have migrated in shallow groundwater about3,500 feet to the northwest. Public and private supply wells in the communities of Olympic Viewand Old Bangor are located in both the shallow and sea-level aquifers approximately one milenorthwest (downgradient) of the Site F plume. Bangor supply wells are located in the sea-levelaquifer about two miles north of this plume. Contaminants in groundwater from Site-F areapparently restricted to the shallow aquifer.

Bangor supply well SO6 is currently not in use. If this well is ever re-activated for use as a drinkingwater supply, it should be sampled for ordnance compounds in addition to any other requiredsampling. The current groundwater extraction and treatment system at Site F should preventfurther migration of contaminants in the shallow aquifer. Continued sampling of monitoringwells at the leading edge of the Site F plume will ensure that any further migration towards off-base drinking water supplies is detected before exposures can occur.

Table 1.

Exposure evaluation conclusions for Naval Submarine Base, Bangor
Source Exposed
Time Frame
Mountain View Road Operable Unit - 8 Residents Drinking Water Past No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Current No Public Health Hazard
Future No Public Health Hazard
Hood Canal
Cattail Lake
Operable Unit-1 (Site A) Shellfish consumers Shellfish Past No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Current No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Future No Apparent Public Health Hazard
On-Base Hazardous Waste Sites All operable units Workers Soil Past No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Current No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Future No Apparent Public Health Hazard
Base Supply Wells Operable Units - 2 and 4
(Sites D and F)
Base personnel Groundwater Future No Public Health Hazard
Public Supply Wells
Operable Unit - 1
(Site A)
Vinland Residents Groundwater Future No Public Health Hazard
Olympic View/
Old Bangor Public Supply Wells
Operable Unit - 2
(Site F)
Olympic View Residents Groundwater Future No Public Health Hazard


A. Site Description and History

Naval Submarine Base, Bangor (Bangor) is located on the Kitsap Peninsula along the east shore ofHood Canal in Kitsap County, Washington (Figure 1). The base occupies approximately 7,000acres two miles west of Poulsbo and eight miles north of Bremerton, Washington. The facility wasformerly used to store and ship ordnance (explosive materials) from the mid-1940s to the early1970s when it was known as the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot. In February 1977, Bangor wasofficially commissioned as the west coast home port for the Trident Submarine Launched Missile System.1

Due to the many years of ordnance handling that occurred prior to its current use, several areas onthe base are now contaminated with chemicals associated with disposal of ordnance and generalmaintenance of the facility. These contaminants have impacted soil and groundwater on base as wellas groundwater off base.

Initial site investigations at the base began in 1978 as part of the Navy's Assessment and Control ofInstallation Pollutants (ACIP) program. By 1986, all site investigations were being conducted underU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines mandated by the ComprehensiveEnvironmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund.2In July 1987, EPA listed the Bangor Ordnance Disposal site (CERCLIS NO. WA7170027265),also known as Site A, on the National Priorities List (NPL). Following this listing, 22 additionalsites were identified for investigation of hazardous substances in the environment. In January 1990,the base entered into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and theWashington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) to conduct further investigation and cleanup ofthese sites. The entire base was listed on the NPL in August 1990 as the Bangor Naval Submarine Base (CERCLIS NO. WA5170027291).3

Sites were divided into eight operable units to better organize investigation and any necessarycleanup (Figure 2). A Record of Decision (ROD) has been issued for Operable Units 1 - 7 outliningappropriate cleanup actions that have been completed or are currently underway. A draft-finalRemedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for Operable Unit - 8 (OU-8) was released inNovember 1998 outlining several long-term options for cleanup.4 A ROD is expected for OU-8 by the fall of 2000.

Each operable unit is discussed below with respect to the history of use, contaminants detected, andpotential for exposure. Appendix A is a comprehensive list of all sites along with associatedcontaminants and remedial status. The following section lists and discusses the completed andpotential pathways of exposure to contaminants of concern originating from these sites.

Operable Unit 1 (OU-1)

Operable Unit 1 consists entirely of Site A and is located on 12 acres in the northwest corner of thebase bordering the Vinland residential community to the north and west. From 1962 through 1986,this area was used to burn and explode ordnance resulting in contamination of soil, surface waterand groundwater. Metal casings from the ordnance were disposed of in two places adjacent to theburn area. In addition, a surface water runoff diversion was built in 1983 that discharged stormwater from the burn area to another portion of Site A.1

The most prevalent contaminants found at Site A are 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 2,4-dinitrotoluene(2,4-DNT), hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX - Royal Demolition Explosive) and lead.Most of this contamination is in soil and groundwater although minimal contamination of surfacewater, sediment, plants and fish has been detected.1 The site was listed on the NPL in 1987 and afinal RI/FS was released in August 1991. Since December 1994, contaminated soil at the site hasundergone remediation by composting and passive leaching. Contaminated soil at Site A currentlymeets cleanup levels and closure of the leaching system is underway. In May 1997, a groundwaterpump and treat system began operation to remove contaminants from shallow groundwater. Thisgroundwater treatment system extracts contaminated groundwater, passes it through a carbon filter before discharging the filtered water to a nearby drain field.5,6

Exposure of on-base workers to soil at Site A could have occurred during and after demilitarization activities. Remedial activities carried out by the base have effectively eliminated exposure to contaminants in soil at Site A. Past exposure of on-base workers to contaminants in soil at on-base hazardous waste sites is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 3 (see page 24).

Operable Unit 2 (OU-2)

Operable Unit 2 consists entirely of Site F and is located approximately 1.5 miles east of HoodCanal and 500 feet west of the junction of Trident Boulevard and Trigger Avenue in the southcentral portion of the base. From 1960 through 1970, the area was used as a wastewater lagoon thatreceived effluent contaminated with RDX, TNT, 2,4-DNT and 2,6-dinitrotoluene (2,6-DNT) thatoriginated from nearby ordnance demilitarization activities. This effluent was commonly known as"pink water"due to the characteristic color associated with these contaminants. The wastewaterdischarged to the unlined lagoon was removed by evaporation, infiltration into shallow groundwaterand surface runoff via an overflow channel. Wastewater discharge was stopped in 1970 andsediments were excavated and transported to Site A for burning and disposal. The lagoon was thenfilled with clean soil and paved over with asphalt.2

High levels of TNT were found in soil and groundwater along with lower levels of other ordnancecompounds and their degradation products. Environmental investigations began in 1971 and the sitewas listed on the NPL in 1987. A final RI/FS was released in August 1993 and the site is currentlyundergoing remediation. Soil from the lagoon area was excavated and composted to speeddegradation of contaminants. Composted soil was then returned to the excavated area and coveredwith a geo-textile liner to prevent further leaching of contaminants to groundwater via raininfiltration. Since December 1994, contaminants in the shallow aquifer at Site F have beencontained and removed though a pump and treat system.6 This system continues to operate alongwith groundwater monitoring.

Workers were potentially exposed to Site F soils during the excavation and transfer of soil from the lagoon to Site A. Remedial activities carried out by the base have effectively eliminated exposure to contaminants in soil at Site A. Past exposure of on-base workers to contaminants in soil at on-base hazardous waste sites is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 3 (see page 24).

Operable Unit 3 (OU-3)

Operable Unit 3 consists of sites 16, 24 and 25 which are all located at southeastern portion of thebase. Sites 16 and 24 are adjacent and cover about 1.5 acres. From 1970 to 1983, site 16 was usedto store drummed waste containing solvents and ordnance contaminated wastewater that was thenincinerated at Site 24. The incinerator was shut down in 1983 and removed in 1987. Deposition from the incinerator was estimated to be immediately to the north.7

Site 25 originally consisted of one detention pond that received industrial wastewater from a sewagetreatment plant at the former U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot. Wastewater in the pond wasdischarged into Clear Creek from 1942 until 1977 when the plant was removed and wastewaterdiverted to a municipal treatment system off base. The site was upgraded in 1983 to include twoponds and an oil/water separator to handle storm water runoff from large areas of the base. Theponds continue to handle storm water runoff at the base that is required to meet National PollutionDischarge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements prior to discharge into Clear Creek.7

Environmental sampling of soil, groundwater and sediment at these sites indicates very little contamination. Low levels of arsenic, dioxins and furans were found in surface soils located within the predicted fallout area of the incinerator. Past exposure of on-base workers to contaminants in soil at on-base hazardous waste sites is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 3 (see page 24).

Operable Unit 4 (OU-4)

Operable Unit 4 consists of Site C (East and West) and is located at the intersection of Flier andDarter Roads in the northern portion of the base. Between 1946 and 1957, two unlined leachate pitslocated at Site C-East received wastewater and sludge produced during demilitarization activities atthe former ammunition depot. An oil-water separator installed in 1971 removed fuel oil contained inthe wastewater prior to discharge into the pits. Soils removed from one pit during the construction ofFlyer Road in 1971 were used as fill material at Site C-West. At least some of this fill material wasreturned to Site C-East. Between 1978 and 1982, surface water at Site C-East was treated via carbon filtration.(8)

Waste discharged to Site C-East is believed to have contained Explosive D (ammonium picrate), picric and picramic acids, and a variety of projectile dyes. Groundwater, sediment, surface water and soil sampling detected only low levels of contamination. Past exposure of on-base workers to contaminants in soil at on-base hazardous waste sites is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 3 (see page 24).

Operable Unit 5 (OU-5)

Operable Unit 5 consists of Site 5, the former barricaded railroad sidings located in the south-centralportion of the base that became a disposal area for demolition debris from a metallurgy laboratory.One hundred pounds of mercury may have been contained within the walls of the lab prior todemolition. Other waste materials may also have been deposited in this area. Soil sampling formercury found only sparse contamination. Initial soil vapor analysis using a field screening probefound high levels of mercury vapor. However, longer term vapor sampling using sorbent materialextracted and analyzed in the laboratory found only trace levels.9 Mercury was determined not to bea contaminant of concern at OU-5. No other contaminants of concern were identified at OU-5.

Operable Unit 6 (OU-6)

Operable Unit 6 consists of Site D. Site D was a former ordnance disposal area located in the centralportion of the base where ordnance was burned and detonated from 1946 through 1965. This areaalso received sludge waste for several years from steam cleaning of projectiles. Ordnance wasburned or detonated in long a narrow trench approximately 15-20 feet wide, 200 feet long and 10feet deep. The site also contained other smaller burn trenches and mounds as well as a small arms incinerator.10

Along with Site A (OU-1), where similar ordnance disposal practices continued until 1986, Site D contained the most heavily contaminated soils on the base.Very high levels of TNT were detected in surface soil along with lower levels of other ordnance compounds. Exposure of on-base workers to soil at Site D could have occurred during and after demilitarization activities. Remedial activities carried out by the base have reduced exposure to soil contaminants at Site D below a level of health concern. Exposure of on-base workers to contaminants in soil at on-base hazardous waste sites is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 3 (see page 24).

Operable Unit 7 (OU-7)

Operable Unit 7 consists of Sites B, E, 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 18, 26, and 30. Site B is Floral Point,reportedly a former landfill located near Hood Canal. Site E, located in the central portion of thebase, was reportedly a liquid waste disposal area. Site 2 was an unauthorized dump area along anembankment in the southern portion of the base. Site 4 was reportedly an ordnance burn area. Site 7,located at the northern end of the base, was a former paint can disposal area used in 1977. Site 10,located at the southeastern portion of the base, was a former Quonset hut location where pesticideswere stored. The Quonset huts in the area were removed in 1978 during construction of thesubmarine base. Site 11, located in the central portion of the base, was a disposal pit used for emptypesticide containers. Site 18, located in the southeastern portion of the base, was designated forinvestigation because of repair activities that took place on a leaking transformer in 1968. Site 26,Hood Canal sediments, was investigated due to older pier activities and the potential for impactsfrom upland remediation sites. Site 30, located on the southern portion of the base, was whereneutralized pesticide rinse water was sprayed along railroad tracks in the 1970s.11

OU-7 contains sites from various areas of the base that did not fit in other operable units and were grouped together for convenience. Of the site contained in OU-7, Site-26 (Hood Canal Sediments) and Site B (Floral Point) represent the highest potential for exposure due to the potential for shellfish contamination. Ingestion of shellfish and from Floral Point and other areas of Hood Canal is evaluated under completed exposure Pathway 2 (see page 21).

Operable Unit 8 (OU-8)

Operable Unit 8 consists of Sites 27, 28 and 29 all of which are located in the Public WorksIndustrial Area in the southeastern portion of the base. Site 27 and 28 were reportedly used as wasteand paint disposal ditches, respectively, while Site 29 was a pesticide rinse water spray area. Othersites located within the Public Works area include Sites 16, 24 and 25 which make up OU-3 andSites 10 and 18 are now part of OU-7.3

Groundwater contamination in the Mountain View Road area was first reported in October 1984when 1,3-dinitrobenzene (1,3-DNB) was detected in a residential well. Subsequent sampling andanalysis of this well did not confirm this detection.12 In May 1986, investigations of a potentialgasoline release in the Public Works facility bordering the Mountain View Road area identified asignificant amount of groundwater contamination in the area. A recovery system was installed inAugust 1986 to recover the gasoline from the groundwater. Further investigation of groundwater inthe Public Works and Mountain View Road area was conducted in 1994. Volatile organiccompounds (VOCs) were detected in groundwater monitoring wells on and off-base as well asMountain View Road residential wells.3 The primary contaminants detected off-base during thesemore recent investigations were 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and benzene.

In addition to the free product recovery system, a vapor extraction system is operating in the Public Works area. A groundwater extraction and treatment system is also operating at the base boundary to remove VOCs from groundwater.4 This remediation will help to reduce VOC levels in the off-site plume and limit further migration of the plume. No current exposure to contaminants in groundwater exists for residents since the base arranged for an extension of the Silverdale public water supply into the Mountain View Road area. Past and future exposure of Mountain View Road residents is discussed below as completed exposure Pathway 1 (see page 16).

B. ATSDR/DOH Involvement

ATSDR and DOH have been involved with hazardous waste issues at Bangor since siteinvestigations began in the mid-1980s. ATSDR visited Bangor several times between 1991 and1995 and has provided the base with verbal as well as written consultations. A public availabilitysession was held in March 1993 to hear the health concerns of Mountain View Road area residents.DOH provided extensive comments on the draft RI/FS for Site A in order to ensure that cleanupwould address all exposures of health concern. More recently in July 1997, DOH released anevaluation of sediment data gathered along Hood Canal with regard to potential exposures tocontaminants through ingestion of shellfish.

A Preliminary Public Health Assessment was released by ATSDR in April 1989. This documenttook only a cursory look at contamination issues at Bangor and recommended further sitecharacterization and sampling.13 In 1991, after entering into a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Department of Defense (DOD), ATSDR visited 96 DOD National Priorities List(NPL) sites including Bangor. At this time, Bangor was ranked as a relatively low priority for apublic health assessment when compared with other DOD NPL sites. A grant awarded to DOH forthe federal fiscal year 1999, as part of an existing cooperative agreement with ATSDR, providedfunds to conduct this public health assessment of Bangor.

Site Visit

On July 7, 1998, the Installation Restoration Program manger accompanied staff from DOH on a tour of various waste sites located on the base. Several areas of contamination were visited includingSite A (OU-1), Site D (OU-6), Site F (OU-2) and OU-8. Several groundwater monitoring andextraction wells were noted around the Public Works area of the base. No shellfish harvesters wereseen during an inspection of the capped landfill and beach at Floral Point (OU-7). The area wasposted "Warning: Restricted Area. Keep Out." No activity was noted around any sites to suggest that significant contact with soil, sediment or surface water was occurring.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics information for Bangor and the surrounding area was obtained from ATSDR (Figure3). The are 5,141 persons currently living on-base in 1,254 housing units.14 The population withinone mile of the base totals 8,755 with 388 persons greater than 65 and 1,292 children six years of age or younger.15

There are three residential communities bordering the base that are addressed as either potentiallyexposed or exposed populations; Olympic View/Old Bangor, Vinland and the Mountain View Roadarea (see Figure 4). Table 2 below gives population estimates for those areas within thesecommunities that are located downgradient of groundwater contamination plumes originating at Bangor.(a)

Table 2.

Population estimates for potentially exposed communities near Naval Submarine Base, Bangor16
Population Olympic View/Old Bangor Vinland Mountain View Road
Age 0 through 4431011
Age 5 through 93379
Age 10 through 1940812
Age 20 through 491603542
Age 50 through 641324
Age 65 and over1012

Drinking water for the Olympic View/Old Bangor, Vinland and Mountain View Road areacommunities is supplied by both public and private wells. Public supply wells in the vicinity ofBangor are shown in Figure 5. The base drinking water supply comes from four wells all located inthe sea-level aquifer as shown in Figure 6.

Land use in the area surrounding the base is primarily agricultural, commercial and residential. There is little industrial activity in the area. However, there are five other NPL sites located inKitsap County including the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport, Puget Sound NavalShipyard, Bremerton, Jackson Park Housing Complex, Bremerton, Old Navy Dump/ManchesterLab, Manchester and Wyckoff Co./Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island.3 Each of these facilities hashad either controlled or uncontrolled releases of hazardous waste into the environment. Due to thedistance of these facilities, it is unlikely that residents living near Bangor would be impacted bycontaminants released from these facilities. Since each of these facilities except Wyckoff Co./EagleHarbor is or has been operated by the U.S. Navy, it is possible that Navy personnel could be or have been exposed to contaminants from more than one site.

a None of these populations are currently exposed to contaminants from Bangor.

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