Contaminated Military Bases:
- Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow
- El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (decommissioned)
- Mather Air Force Base
- McClellan Air Force Base
- March Air Force Base
- Norton Air Force Base
- Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base
24 Bases with reported TCE water contamination
(Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)
March Air Force Base
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March AFB opened in 1918 for training pilots and consisted of 640 acres east of Highway 395. In 1940, Camp Haan was constructed west of Highway 395 primarily as an anti-aircraft gunnery training encampment and a staging area for tank forces during World War II. After World War II, Camp Haan became part of March AFB and the area became known as West March.
From 1918 to 1949, the base was used primarily for aircrew (pilot, bombing and gunnery) training. In 1949, the Strategic Air Command took control of March AFB primarily to support bombers and refueling tankers (Tetra Tech 1994). After 1982, the base's primary mission became aircraft refueling.
The U.S. Defense Secretary's Commission on Base Closure and Realignment announced March AFB for base closure and realignment in the third round of closures in 1993. March AFB was closed and realigned on April 1, 1996. In the realignment, the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command retained 2,258 acres for March Air Reserve Base as the predominant operating entity (CEDAR 1997) with tenants including the Air National Guard.
Concurrent with base redevelopment activities, the AFBCA and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) are conducting environmental characterization and clean up activities to address chemical contamination of the environment. The chemical contamination is the result of past disposal, accidental spills, and routine releases of waste and materials. Wastes from base operations have included spent solvents, cleaners, waste and recoverable fuels, waste oils, refuse, and small-scale munitions (Earth Technology, 1989, Tetra Tech 1994, 1997b).
In 1989, U.S. EPA listed March AFB as a National Priorities List (NPL) site for cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) because of contaminated groundwater found in a base drinking water well and contaminated soils at several on-base areas.
To carry out the investigation and cleanup, the AFBCA has been operating under the Department of Defense Installation Restoration Program (IRP), and the authorities of CERCLA and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) To date, the IRP program has identified and investigated 43 sites under CERCLA and 105 Solid Waste Management Units and 50 Areas of Concern under RCRA through a base wide Expanded Source Investigation/RCRA Facility Assessment. Through an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) of the entire base, March AFB identified an additional 35 sites. Appendix B includes a list of these sites and their status.