Open-File Report 2011–1200
The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Army Environmental and Natural Resources Management Office of the U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, Georgia, assessed the groundwater, soil gas, and soil for contaminants at the Vietnam Armor Training Facility (VATF) at Fort Gordon, from October 2009 to September 2010. The assessment included the detection of organic compounds in the groundwater and soil gas, and inorganic compounds in the soil. In addition, organic contaminant assessment included organic compounds classified as explosives and chemical agents in selected areas. The assessment was conducted to provide environmental contamination data to the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon pursuant to requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Part B Hazardous Waste Permit process.
Four passive samplers were deployed in groundwater wells at the VATF in Fort Gordon. Total petroleum hydrocarbons were detected above the method detection level at all four wells. The only other volatile organic compounds detected above their method detection level were undecane and pentadecane, which were detected in two of the four wells sampled. Soil-gas samplers were deployed at 72 locations in a grid pattern across the VATF. Total petroleum hydrocarbons were detected in 71 of the 72 samplers (one sampler was destroyed in the field and not analyzed) at levels above the method detection level, and the combined mass of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and total xylene was detected above the detection level in 31 of the 71 samplers that were analyzed. Other volatile organic compounds detected above their respective method detection levels were naphthalene, 2-methyl-naphthalene, tridecane, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and perchloroethene.
Subsequent to the soil-gas survey, four areas determined to have elevated contaminant mass were selected and sampled for explosives and chemical agents. No detections of explosives or chemical agents above their respective method detection levels were found at any of the sampling locations. The same four locations that were sampled for explosives and chemical agents were selected for the collection of soil samples. A fifth location also was selected on the basis of the elevated contaminant mass of the soil-gas survey. No metals that exceeded the Regional Screening Levels for Industrial Soils as classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were detected at any of the five VATF locations. The soil samples also were compared to values from the ambient, uncontaminated (background) levels for soils in South Carolina, as classified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Because South Carolina is adjacent to Georgia and the soils in the coastal plain are similar, these comparisons are valid. No similar values are available for Georgia to use for comparison purposes. The metals that were detected above the ambient background levels for South Carolina, as classified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, include aluminum, arsenic, barium, beryllium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, nickel, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
First posted September 26, 2011
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Guimaraes, W.B., Falls, W.F., Caldwell, A.W., Ratliff, W.H., Wellborn, J.B., and Landmeyer, J.E., 2011, Assessment of groundwater, soil-gas, and soil contamination at the Vietnam Armor Training Facility, Fort Gordon, Georgia, 2009–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1200, 40 p., available online at https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1200/.
Purpose and Scope
Description of the Study Area
Passive Groundwater Survey
Passive Soil-Gas Survey
Explosives and Chemical Agents