Cleanup at Former Waldorf Nike Missile Site

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District is currently preparing a cleanup plan to address the environmental impacts of an inactive missile Launch Area known as the Waldorf Nike Battery W-44.  The site is located on the boundary between the southern portion of Prince Georges County and the northern portion of Charles County, Md., approximately 15 miles southeast of the center of Washington, DC.

The Launch Area is located in the southern portion of Prince George’s County and the northern portion of Charles County. The Control Area is located approximately 1 mile west of the Launch Area, along Country Lane.

The preferred alternative is on-site chemical reduction and bioremediation combined with Land Use Controls and Long Term Monitoring to ensure the prevention of exposure to volatile organic compounds, until concentrations are below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) groundwater standards. This alternative will address both concentrations of Carbon tetrachloride and Trichloroethylene in groundwater, eliminating potential excess risk to human health and environmental receptors for each item.  It is important to remember that groundwater is not a source of drinking water in the area. 


Site History

Between 1955 and 1960, the government acquired a total of 31.40 acres, obtained easement on 39.77 acres, and leased 0.89 acre in 25 parcels from various owners to support the construction and operation of the Nike Battery. The site was developed as Nike Battery W-44 and included property for a missile Control Area, a missile Launch Area, and easements for access roads. Between June 1965 and February 1986, a total of 27.72 acquired acres, 35.98 acres of easement, and 0.89 acre lease were declared as excess by the Department of Defense (DoD) and subsequently conveyed to other owners.

All structures, underground storage tanks, and electrical distribution system equipment constructed by DoD remained on the properties at the time of conveyance. The Launch Area is currently owned by Charles County and leased to the Maryland Indian Heritage Society for use as a cultural center. The former barracks are located adjacent to the missile silos at the Launch Area and also are being used by the Maryland Indian Heritage Society.

Previous Studies and Findings

The Waldorf Nike Launch Area became eligible for funding under the Formerly Used Defense Site program in 1987.  Since then the Corps of Engineers has conducted several investigations at the site.  Groundwater, surface water, surface and subsurface soil and silos were sampled for semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, metals, perchlorate, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), and radioactivity analyses. None of these materials were detected at concentrations exceeding Maximum Contaminant Levels. 

However, during the environmental investigations conducted at the Launch Area groundwater samples collected for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from monitoring wells immediately adjacent to and down gradient of the Missile Assembly Building contained Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and Trichloroethylene (TCE). Samples collected from monitoring wells MW-4 and MW-12 contained the highest concentrations of CCl4 and TCE . This indicates that the source of the contaminants is likely a superficial spill or spills of solvents used to clean missile parts behind (west of) the Missile Assembly Building. 

It is important to remember that groundwater is not a source of drinking water in the area. 

Information Repository

The Information Repository is available in the reference section for review during normal business hours at the P.D. Brown Memorial Branch Library, 50 Village Street, Waldorf, MD 20602.
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The Information Repository includes documents that will be used to form the basis for the selection of the cleanup action.  Documents currently in the repository include inventory project reports, preliminary assessment and site investigation reports, validated sampling data, and the remedial investigation report. Additional documents will be added as work progresses. The P.D. Brown Memorial Branch Library can be reached at 301-645-2864.