Savanna Army Depot Activity (SVADA)
Savanna Army Depot (SVADA) is the oldest depot in the Industrial Operations Command and the Army wholesale logistics structure. Savanna Army Depot Activity's mission is the storage, issue, and demilitarization of conventional munitions, storage, and issue of general supplies, and is one of only two manufacturers and maintainers of ammunition peculiar equipment and repair parts for DOD worldwide. Savanna was home to the Defense Ammunition Center and School and the United States Army Technical Center for Explosive Safety, which is responsible for the training, testing, safety, and quality assurance of all conventional ammunition items.
The Savanna Army Depot was identified for closure by Congress in July 1995 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act. It officially closed on March 18, 2000.
The Savanna Army Depot Activity is a 13,062-acre installation located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River and is located in Carroll and Jo Davies counties approximately seven miles north of Savanna, Illinois. The property was purchased by the U.S. Army in 1917 for use as a proof and test facility for for cannons manufactured in Rock Island Arsenal. Savanna is 14 miles long and 4 miles wide for that purpose. The exact site where the cannons fired down range is known. Operations at the installation expanded to ordnance storage facilities and loading and renovating shells and bombs. The mission of the installation changed to a depot facility in 1921.
The facility has handled, processed, and stored munitions, explosives, and industrial chemicals since operations began. Renovation and loading of artillery shells and bombs began in the 1930s, and occurred intermittently. Several areas of the facility have been used for the demolition and burning of obsolete ordnance. The majority of munitions shot during the artillery testing were blanks because the mission was to test fire the artillery guns made at the Rock Island Arsenal. However, many rounds of high explosive ordnance were fired, including 105mm and 155mm shells.
In FY90, a Remedial Action (RA) began at the TNT washout lagoons to remove contaminated sediments; a major source of TNT contamination. In FY92, a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed approving the incineration of TNT-contaminated soil and sediment from the site. In FY93, the installation completed a trial burn and began full-scale sediment removal, incineration, and ash processing operations. In FY93, cleanup began for VOC-contaminated soil at the fire training area; cleanup operations used high-temperature thermal treatment. In FY94, the installation completed incineration of TNT-contaminated sediments and continued to cleanup VOC-contaminated soil at the fire training site. To promote the use of innovative technologies, the Army hosted a demonstration of an ultraviolet and oxidation (UV/OX) groundwater treatment technology. During the demonstration, four UV/OX commercial vendors operated their treatment systems.
A three-party Inter-Agency/Federal Facility Agreement between the Department of the Army (DA), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) was signed in late 1989. In September, 1995, the facility was included in the Department of Defense Base Closure List (BRAC). Up to 75 areas of the site were identified and evaluated in a facility wide Remedial Investigation (RI). During subsequent reviews for the base closure process, approximately three hundred additional areas of potential concern were identified for further evaluation prior to transferring facility property. The facility has worked with the Local Reuse Authority (LRA) to developed a plan to transfer the facility property to U.S. Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Corps of Engineers, and the LRA for re-development.
The traditional Superfund progress at Savanna has been hampered due to the shift in focus to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) land transfer goals. Base Closure efforts included failed attempts to transfer a 150-acre parcel (known as the prison parcel) for transfer to the Illinois Department of Corrections for use as a medium security prison in 1998 and an area known as the "YSI site" of roughly 40 acres for a youth adjudication facility. However, some reuse has already been initiated. A Finding of Suitability to Lease (FOSL) was developed in December 1998 allowing for leasing of 28 buildings for various uses and all railroad lines/tracks within the parcel intended to be transferred to the LRA. FOSL #2 was developed for approximately 180 additional buildings on the LRA parcel in December 1999. Additionally, FOSL #3 addressing 266 additional buildings is under development and is expected to be completed early in 2001. In combination these FOSLs will allow leasing of the buildings located on the property intended for transfer to the LRA.
In 1997, the LRA successfully competed in a statewide competition for the siting of a correctional facility on the Depot property. However, during 1998, environmental issues and concerns forced the Governor to relocate the proposed prison to privately held land, 15 miles south of the Depot near Thomson, Illinois.
The current proposal is to transfer land to four agencies: 9,113 acres to the Service; 3,223 acres to the Local Redevelopment Authority; 456 acres to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and 270 acres to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
If the proposal is accepted, the land transferred to the Service would become the Lost Mound National Wildlife Refuge. The name "Lost Mound" refers to local folklore of a nearby post-glacial hill, or mound, that provides a backdrop for the sand prairie uplands of the Savanna Depot. The mound did not appear on early maps of the region, however the "lost" mound has since been found and is featured on recent topographical maps.
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