Guam Ordnance Annex
Naval Magazine, Guam
The Pentagon's 332-page official History released on Oct 21, 1999 to Robert S. Norris (a private specialist on nuclear weapons) acknowledged that in 1951, President Truman authorized the shipment of nuclear capsules -the bomb's plutonium or uranium core- to the Pacific island of Guam during the Korea War. Starting in 1956, a wide variety of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems were sent to the Pacific as a first line of defense for America. Regulus cruise missiles launched from a ship and guided by an escort plane, shipboard Talos anti-aircraft missiles and a variety of Army battlefield nuclear weapons were deployed on Guam. Today, the only full-time U.S. nuclear deployments (according to the Pentagon History) outside of the U.S. are in Europe.
In July 1995, the BRAC commission recommended the closure of the Guam Naval Activities, formerly the Naval Station and the Naval Magazine. The Naval Magazine functions were relocated to the Naval Magazine, Lualualei, Hawaii, and a number of the Naval Station functions will be relocated to the Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The installation retained those functions necessary for support, mobilization, and contingencies to support the afloat tender. The former Naval Magazine, now known as the Ordnance Annex, is located in the central-western highlands portion of Guam near Agat.
In 1975, the US Army developed a pilot program, known as the Installation Restoration Program, for the DOD to address hazardous materials and hazardous waste disposal activities at current and former military facilities. The Department of the Navy, in response to this mandate by the DOD, developed an IR Program (formerly called the Navy Assessment and Control of Installation Pollutants Program) to identify, assess, and clean up or control environmental contamination from past hazardous waste disposal operations and hazardous material spills at Navy and Marine Corps installations. In 1982, a PA was conducted by NEESA for 38 sites located within the US Navy facilities on the island of Guam. In the case of the two NAVMAG sites, it was decided that the investigations would be conducted in accordance with SI methodologies and procedures which have recently been revised to include both the SSI and LSI phases.
An SSI was conducted by ERCE at the Tear Gas Burial Site located within NAVMAG during portions of May, June, and July, 1990. Located within the northwest corner of NAVMAG, the Tear Gas Burial Site is situated approximately 700 feet to the south of Mount Alifan at an approximate elevation of 770 feet above MLLW. The March, 1990 reconnaissance by ERCE revealed that the site slopes downhill toward the west and is covered with approximately 1-foot high grass, some shrubs, and virtually no trees. Trees and thick vegetation are located downhill to the west. The area without trees is approximately 300 feet long by 160 feet wide and is suspected to contain the disposal location. Two former magazines were situated to the northeast and southeast along the access road.
Based upon the reported potential waste streams and the potential chemical constituents contained in these waste streams, a combination of geophysical and soil gas survey techniques were used to attempt to locate the tear gas burial location as well as to indicate if an environmental release of tear gas had occurred. A site reconnaissance was conducted prior to commencement of field investigations. The survey identified surface debris throughout the suspected area of disposal consisting of pipes, drums, lumber, cans, bottles, vehicle parts, fire extinguishers, etc. In addition, a 6-foot by 3-foot area of disturbed soil was identified in the central portion of the site that appeared to correspond to the location identified by NEESA. Other areas of disturbed soil were also observed. Based on preliminary exposure assessment conducted during the SSI, it does not appear that the Tear Gas Burial Site will rank sufficiently high on the HRS to qualify as a Superfund site. The site does not pose a threat to drinking water sources or sensitive receptors, factors which heavily influence the HRS ranking.
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