24 Bases with reported TCE water contamination
(Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)

Otis Air National Guard Base/Camp Edward

Falmouth, MA

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The Otis Air National Guard Base/Camp Edwards site covers approximately 22,000 acres and is more commonly known as the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). Although the occupants and property boundaries have changed several times since MMR was established in 1935, the primary mission has always been to provide training and housing to Air Force and/or Army units. A review of past and present operations and waste disposal practices identified numerous potentially contaminated areas, including several areas located on the southern portion of MMR. These contaminated areas are the result of historic chemical/fuel spills, fire training activities, landfills, and drainage structures. Additionally, effluent from the former sewage treatment plant was historically discharged into sand beds where it seeped into the groundwater. In 1984, the U.S. Geological Survey detected contaminants in monitoring wells downgradient of this former plant. In 1983 and 1984, the Air Force detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in on-site monitoring wells near the Base Landfill and a Fire Training Area. Monitoring had also detected VOCs in several hundred private wells (all of which are now on municipal water) and in one town well (which is shut down). The EPA has designated the Sagamore Lens underlying MMR as a sole source aquifer under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Numerous remediation projects addressing both the soil and groundwater contamination at MMR have been implemented since the mid to late 1990's. Approximately 100,000 tons of soil have been treated at MMR, while to date, there are numerous treatment plants in place which treat approximately 18 million gallons a day of contaminated groundwater. All treated groundwater is returned to the aquifer or discharged to surface water.

For more information on this project, see

There is also another investigation and cleanup program at MMR which is under the authority of Safe Drinking Water Act Administrative Orders. The Army is the lead agency in conducting this program which is know as the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program. This work is separate from the ongoing Superfund work, however it is coordinated within the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the MMR. For more information, see
The groundwater is contaminated with VOCs, including trichloroethene, tetrachloroethylene, ethylene dibromide (EDB), carbon tetrachloride, and dichloroethylene. Ethylene dibromide has been found to be upwelling in two separate locations, outside the MMR property boundaries, within cranberry bogs in Mashpee and Falmouth. People could be at risk if they accidentally drink or come into direct contact with contaminated groundwater. Contaminated groundwater could also pose a threat to the environment within several ponds and streams used for recreational purposes. Soil contaminated with heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, PCBs, and petroleum hydrocarbons has been removed in cleanup actions in 2001-2002. Other principle threats such as contaminants in drainage structures and underground storage tanks have been removed thus eliminating potential future sources of groundwater contamination.
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