Mass. National Guard settles with EPA

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Sep 13, 2012

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - The Massachusetts National Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency have resolved allegations of violations of operations and maintenance requirements for three firing ranges at Camp Edwards, Mass., Military Reservation.

Camp Edwards is a 22,000-acre property that has been used for military training activities since 1935. The base is located over an aquifer that is the sole source of drinking water for residents of Cape Cod, said the EPA, which announced the settlement Sept. 6.

The Army and Air Force have environmental cleanup programs for the soil and groundwater contamination that have resulted from activities on site. The U.S. Air Force is addressing contamination from the Otis Air Force Base primarily in the southern portion of MMR under the Federal Superfund Program. The U.S. Army is addressing contamination at Camp Edwards in the northern portion of MMR as required by EPA under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The EPA issued to the Guard a series of administrative orders under SDWA to protect the sole source groundwater aquifer underlying MMR in 1997 and 2000. One of those orders prohibited Guard training with live ammunition to protect the sole source Cape Cod Aquifer.

The Guard had since petitioned EPA to resume small arms training with lead ammunition at three firing ranges. Following the petitions, EPA consented to the training but insisted on modifications including the use of bullet capture systems.

But the EPA determined in 2011 that the Guard had not complied with OMMP requirements related to the bullet capture systems at the three firing ranges. Specifically, the Guard allegedly failed to pump and dispose of water that was collecting in the bullet capture systems and also failed to notify EPA of issues associated with water collection and disposal.
EPA and the Guard settled on a Safe Drinking Water Act Consent Agreement and Final Order. The agreement includes a $27,500 penalty and a Supplemental Environmental Project by the Guard that will remove 14 acres of impervious surface at MMR. The estimated value of the project is more than $100,000.

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