Location: Natural Resources > Environmental Permitting, Compliance, and NEPA

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Environmental Permitting, Compliance, and NEPA

LAKE ONTARIO ORDNANCE WORKS,
RISK ASSESSMENT

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Baltimore District
Town of Lewiston, New York

The former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW) was a 7,500-acre area commissioned by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the production of trinitrotoluene. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is investigating eligible areas of the site that may have been affected by former DoD operations. EA was contracted by USACE to perform a phased remedial investigation of selected areas within the former LOOW not currently owned by the DoD. The selected areas were divided into 10 exposure units for evaluation. Investigations within the former LOOW are complicated due to various current property owners, different site uses, and various planned future uses. Current site uses for areas investigated in the remedial investigation include a hazardous waste landfill, storage areas, and open space. In addition, the former LOOW is adjacent to the Niagara Falls Storage Site, which is a storage site for radiological wastes.

As a part of the phased remedial investigation, EA was tasked to perform a Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment (SLERA) and Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA). The SLERA evaluated terrestrial vegetation, soil invertebrates, four mammals (eastern cottontail, white-tailed deer, short-tailed shrew, and red fox), and two birds (American robin and red-tailed hawk) for exposure to surface soil. The SLERA also refined the screening process further to allow for a risk conclusion within the SLERA, rather than perform a full Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment. For the HHRA, seven human receptors (adolescent trespasser, adult trespasser, maintenance worker, commercial worker, construction worker, resident adult, and result child) were evaluated based upon the current and planned future use for each exposure unit. The HHRA evaluation fully evaluated potential receptor exposure to soil, sludge, wastewater, groundwater, indoor air, ingestion or home-grown produce, ingestion of game meat, and inhalation of ambient air (within construction trenches).

Over 2,200 samples were collected for the phased remedial investigation. Every area evaluated in the remedial investigation had exceedances of federal risk-based screening concentrations. However, the SLERA and HHRA identified only three areas that require additional actions. Furthermore, the results of the SLERA and HHRA will be used to further refine areas within the former LOOW that require additional actions. These results will allow the USACE to reduce the areas within the former LOOW that require additional action, resulting in significant cost savings in both potential remedial actions and long-term monitoring activities.