Home Medical Factors Facing Pilots Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Aviation News Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics General Aviation Helicopters
Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Links To Other Sites Editorials Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Upcoming Events Editorials


EPA Accepting Public Comments On Proposed Cleanup Plan For Aerojet Superfund Site
By Steve Hall

May 3, 2013 - The Environmental Protection Agency will begin accepting public comments on its proposed plan for a portion of the Aerojet General Corporation Superfund Site, located in Sacramento County, Calif. This portion of the site is known as the Boundary Operable Unit (OU).

The Aerojet General Corporation Superfund site (site) covers 5,900 acres near Rancho Cordova, 15 miles east of Sacramento. The northeastern edge of the site is about 1/2 mile from the American River.

Since 1953, Aerojet and its subsidiaries have manufactured liquid and solid propellant rocket engines for military and commercial applications and have formulated a number of chemicals, including rocket propellant agents, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and other industrial chemicals.

Aerojet is a rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer based primarily in Rancho Cordova, California, with divisions in Redmond, Washington, Orange, Gainesville (both in Virginia) and Camden, Arkansas. Aerojet is owned by GenCorp.

They are the only US propulsion company that provides both solid rocket motors and liquid rocket engines. Their products include a wide range of motors, from main engines used on a number of NASA vehicles and ballistic missiles, down to station keeping thrusters for spacecraft. The propulsion devices include rocket motors as large as the EELV Atlas V strap-on rocket boosters. Aerojet provides almost all of the Army's tactical missile rocket motors.


In addition, the Cordova Chemical Company operated chemical manufacturing facilities on the Aerojet complex from 1974 to 1979. Both companies disposed of unknown quantities of hazardous waste chemicals, including trichloroethene (TCE) and other chemicals associated with rocket propellants, as well as various chemical processing wastes. 

Some wastes were disposed of in surface impoundments, landfills, deep injection wells, leachate fields, and some were disposed of by open burning. Underlying the site are extensive 40 to 100 foot-deep dredge tailings, a remnant of past gold mining operations. 

In 1979, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found off-site in private wells and in the American River in 1983. Perchlorate, a component of solid rocket fuel, was found in drinking water wells off-site above the provisional reference dose range in January 1997.



The communities potentially affected by this site are Rancho Cordova, population 61,000; Carmichael, population 68,000, Fair Oaks, population 41,000, and Gold River, population 9,000. The closest residence is about 500 feet away from the site. Groundwater is used extensively throughout the Rancho Cordova area to supply municipal, domestic, industrial and some irrigation water.  

Public and private drinking water supply wells have been contaminated and wells contaminated above response levels have been closed. Aerojet continues to monitor drinking water supplies to assure compliance with drinking water standards. Lake Natoma and Alder Creek are nearby and are used for recreational activities. The American River is a drinking water source, which receives discharges from Aerojet's facility and groundwater treatment systems under National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. 

The Aerojet Record of Decision for the Perimeter Groundwater OU (OU-5) was signed on February 15, 2011 including a responsiveness summary to public comments received. The ROD selected an Interim Remedy for Groundwater and a final cleanup for the contaminated soil locations. The groundwater remedy will hydraulically contain the plume areas to prevent the spread of contamination, with additional pumping and treating to intercept and remove highly contaminated groundwater where possible. Within OU-5, there are 17 contaminants of concern identified although TCE, NDMA and perchlorate are the primary contaminants as in OU-3. In OU-5 there are four different groundwater areas and some of them require cleanup actions in other Operable Units to eliminate the contaminant source. The EPA is  considering this an interim groundwater remedy until the source areas are fully addressed. Most of the groundwater capture system is already in place and operating as part of the initial actions described above. 

The Soil Areas remedy is to excavate or otherwise clean the soil areas to levels protective for residential use. Fourteen contaminants of concern were identified in the soil areas, including metals and others that are not issues in groundwater. The EPA recognize that there could be difficulty in achieving the desired cleanup levels in some of the soil areas, so the remedy includes a combination of engineering controls (such as intercepting soil vapor) and Institutional Controls (limiting the land use) as necessary. 

Cleanup Results to Date - Ten groundwater extraction and treatment systems "GETs" are operating throughout the Aerojet site. Together they removed over 20 million gallons of contaminated groundwater each day on average. Through the end of 2010, all the groundwater extraction and treatment systems at Aerojet in OU-3 and OU-5 have treated a cumulative total of 107,000 million gallons of groundwater and removed more than 850,000 pounds of chemical contaminants. 

EPA will be accepting public comments on the plan until June 7, 2013, and will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the proposed plan at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at Rancho Cordova City Hall in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The proposed plan will address human and ecological health risks and risks to groundwater posed by contaminated soil and soil vapor within the operable unit. Previous investigations found soil and soil vapor at the site to be contaminated with chemicals (such as trichloroethene [TCE], tetrachloroethene [PCE], and perchlorate) used in past industrial chemical manufacturing, pesticide manufacturing, and rocket propulsion systems manufacturing and testing operations.

Other News Stories (For the latest news please checkout our home page)
blog comments powered by Disqus  
Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share  

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine