Military


Point Pleasant Depot

Point Pleasant Depot
2601 Madison Avenue
Point Pleasant, WV 25550-1603

The Defense National Stockpile is managed by the U.S. Department of Defense, with day-to-day operations being guided by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). In 1998, the DLA sold 12,183 tons of pig tin from the stockpile. Of this total, 10,313 tons represented long-term sales contracts to RMT Corp. and Considar, Inc. (both of New York, NY). The DLA continued its monthly spot tin sales program under the same format as in recent years, with sales being held on the first Wednesday. The following depots held the largest inventories of tin, in descending order: Hammond, IN; Anniston, AL; Point Pleasant, WV; and Baton Rouge, LA. At 1998 yearend, 83,607 tons of tin remained in the NDS. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) 1999 tin sales program emphasized its long-term activity and had only a modest spot sales effort. DLA allocated 2,000 tons of tin to sell on the spot market at monthly sales. Two long-term sales were again conducted, one in the spring, another in the fall. DLA announced that its Annual Materials Plan for fiscal year 1999 called for sales of up to 12,000 tons of stockpile tin. Stockpile tin is warehoused at six depots, with the largest holdings at Hammond, IN, and Baton Rouge, LA. The Stockton, CA, depot was closed.

The former West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) was an explosives manufacturing facility constructed for the sole purpose of producing 720,000 tons of TNT per day. It was constructed on 8,323 acres. The site is located on the east bank of the Ohio River, along State Route 62, 6 miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. From 1942 to 1945, the e West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) manufactured explosives for use in munitions and explosives for the war effort. Although owned by DoD, WVOW was operated by a private company to produce TNT. When it closed in 1945, WVOW was declared surplus, and the structures were salvaged or disposed. The former West Virginia Ordnance Works is on the National Priorities List and work is being done there by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The former WVOW consisted of TNT manufacturing facilities, associated acid storage and concentrating facilities, administration and housing areas, repair shops, two well water fields, an Ohio River dock site, power plants, magazine area and rail yards. The TNT was stored in concrete bunkers, or igloos, built above the ground. They are dome-shaped concrete structures, covered with a foot or more of earth and spaced in a grid pattern to reduce the chances of all igloos being destroyed in a chain reaction.

Construction of the plant began in March of 1942, on a war-time footing, utilizing expensive shortcut methods. All construction was supervised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District. WVOW was completed in September 1943. On 15 August 1945, WVOW was ordered to cease production, as were all ammunition plants, and on 4 December 1945 it was declared surplus to the needs of the War Department and custodial functions were transferred to the Corps of Engineers. On 16 April 1946, WVOW was declared surplus to government needs, with accountability turned over to the War Assets Administration for disposal on 2 October 1946. By November of 1949 all of the plumbing and process equipment associated with the TNT manufacturing area had been removed except for the contaminated sewer lines running to the Red and Yellow Water Lines. The Burning Grounds Area and Red and Yellow Water Reservoirs were fenced off and posted. The sewers were blocked off and abandoned in place, as they were not considered a hazard. The Magazine Area became the site of sporadic explosives operations after this area was sold to private parties. Since the ammunition magazines remained intact, they proved useful warehouses for explosives in the possession of private citizens and businesses. Also, there is some evidence that small scale TNT re-melt operations were conducted by private explosives manufacturing concerns during the 1960s.

After a history of numerous sales and repurchases by the Federal Government, the distribution of ownership of former WVOW is as follows: 171.944 acres held by the Department of the Army (including 7 acres utilized by the National Guard); 2,451.19 acres owned by the Conservation Commission of West Virginia; the remaining 5,699.976 acres being held by home owners, farmers, light industries, a coal company, real estate speculators, utility companies, cemetery trustees, Mason County (including an airport on Parcel 91), West Virginia Board of Education and various small businesses

Environmental efforts at the West Virginia Ordnance Works present a typical profile of a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) property. Manufacturing activities at WVOW during World War II resulted in soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination. Residual contamination from WW II-era manufacturing did not become apparent until 1979, when personnel managing the wildlife station observed red water seeps near the site of a former retention pond. Studies beginning in 1979 confirmed the extent of contamination with TNT-related residues.

Fishermen saw red liquid bubbling to the surface back in the 1980's. Future testing found the red goo to be a toluene compound, which later lead to the site being given "Top 10 Superfund Cleanup" status and tagged one of the most polluted sites in the US.

Three new ponds providing more than 30 acres of aquatic habitat are finished at McClinitic Wildlife Management Area. Located five miles north of Point Pleasant, W.Va. McClinitic contains the greatest variety of wildlife habitats to be found on any of the state's wildlife management areas. Approximately 600 acres farmland, 900 acres brushland, 160 acres wetland and 1,100 acres mixed hardwood forest combine to provide excellent hunting for deer, waterfowl, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, grouse, mourning dove and woodcock. Warm water fishing is allowed in 35 of the 39 ponds, with bass and bluegill anglers enjoying the greatest success. Channel catfish and northern pike are stocked in several of the lakes.

The ponds mitigate the loss of approximately 13 acres of aquatic habitat at Pond 16 resulting from remediation efforts of the former West Virginia Ordnance Works. An active partnering environment with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the owners and land managers provided the necessary ingredients to ensure that the design of the site was in the best interest of the intended wildlife habitat. Pond 16 has been returned to its original state and Ponds 7 and 11 were added. The new ponds range from shallow depths to seven feet.

The ponds are designed as multiple use areas for the sustainment of fish and waterfowl. Department of Natural Resources will stock fingerlings of bass, catfish, and bluegill. Waterfowl will migrate to the area as soon as water is maintained in ponds. Sportsmen can reach the site off a paved country road with off-road parking in a gravel lot.

 



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