Brunswick Area Citizens for a Safe Environment
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A History of BACSE

BACSE was formed in 1991 as a non-profit organization and in accordance with requirements of DOD, for the specific purpose of keeping the public informed on the status of hazardous waste remediation at the Naval Air Station and proving public input to the U.S. Navy and “Regulators”.

We have over 20 years experience in participating in oversight of remediation. To accomplish our mission, BACSE routinely testifies, issues comment letters, summary memoranda and reports to the US Navy and local officials that identify outstanding concerns about the site that are under investigation. The U.S. Navy and other government officials have acknowledged our role as beneficial and we maintain a WEB site at; http://Community.curtislibrary.com/BACSE/ to provide general information to the public.

During this involvement, the Naval Air Station has been re-designated from an active military base to civilian re-use, and as a result of this change, remediation has been accelerated to meet a deadline of December 31, 2014. Interesting (but undocumented), comments have also been provided by government and non-government sources at conferences and group discussions with representatives from similar contaminated property sites, recognizing that the Naval Air Station in Brunswick has made more progress in remediation than other Defense Department facilities to the point that civilian re-use is occurring years earlier than other military bases undergoing civilian conversion. This progress in remediation is substantially the result of effective advocacy by our organization and members for the past 20 years.

Please Note:
  • Members of BACSE draw no salary or expense vouchers. Much of their effort involves expenses that are donated. Members also provide technical inputs, based on their field of expertise.
  • BACSE is a State of Maine and IRS certified 501-c-3 non profit corporation.
  • Currently, BACSE receives technical assistance funding from the US EPA to contract with a geological technical expert and from the philanthropy “Maine Initiatives” of Augusta Maine.

BACSE Officers (2012):

Ed Benedikt, RPE- President, Bath, ME
David W. Chipman, Ph.D- Corresponding Secretary, Harpswell, ME
Juris Apse, PE- Recording Secretary, Brunswick, ME
Suzanne Johnson, Esq - Treasurer, Brunswick, ME
David S. Page, Ph.D. - Vice President, Brunswick, ME
Antoinette Mercadante, Ph.D. - Vice President, Bath, ME
Carol G. Warren, Esq. - Vice President, Brunswick, ME

A Brief History of the Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS)

Around 1935, the town of Brunswick constructed a small municipal airport in part of its old Town Commons. The Navy acquired the airfield in response to World War II, and Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB) was commissioned April 15, 1943.
After World War II ended in 1945, the air station was placed on caretaker status and facilities on the station were leased to a variety of organizations, including the University of Maine, Bowdoin College, and the Town of Brunswick, which subleased it to Brunswick Flying Service.
NASB currently consists of the Naval Air Station in the Town of Brunswick, Cumberland County, and several noncontiguous remote areas. Off-station areas include sites in Brunswick and the towns of Topsham and Phippsburg, Sagadahoc county.
BNAS Airplane
(Excerpted from the Integrated Natural Resources Plan, published in 2001 by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic Division, for NASB)

History of Pollution at the Brunswick Naval Air Station

The Navy began disposing of hazardous materials on the air station grounds in 1942 and continued until 1979. Although the dumping has stopped, migration of toxic chemicals through the soil and groundwater has continued. The air station has been added to the EPA's list of toxic waste sites commonly referred to as "Superfund" sites.

History of contamination at the Brunswick Naval Air Station can be viewed at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick (look for the notebooks in the "Natural Resource" section on the 2nd floor near the Reference Desk). The history contains documentation that lead to the approval of the "Records of Decision" as defined by the State of Maine and the U.S. EPA in 1994 and which is the official contract for the clean-up effort.
Major remediation milestones at the Brunswick Naval Air Station
1992
  • Record of Decision (ROD) approved by the U.S. Navy.
1994
  • Consolidation and capping to restrict migration of contaminants.
  • Start of remediation action.
1995
  • Effluent treatment started in conjunction with partial discharge into the Brunswick Sewer Treatment Plant.
  • Installation of a "slurry wall" around the containments.
2000
  • Proposal presented to upgrade the treated effluent and eliminate the discharge into the Brunswick Sewer Treatment Plant.
2003
  • All administrative records from June 1983 through April 2003 have been digitized into a Database on CD's and made available at the Curtis Memorial Library reference desk in Brunswick, Maine. It is anticipated that this information will be kept current by the US Navy.
2005
  • In November 2005, BNAS was designated for closure by 2011 under the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) process. At this time, a local redevelopment organization has been created in Brunswick and that group has indicated an interest in toxic and hazardous waste contamination conditions. This redevelopment group expects to have a web site and a link to that site will be provided when available.
2006
  • Indexing of administrative records.
  • Visit by the Director of USEPA Region #1 determined a need to remediate oil seepage into a stream and to improve operation of the Eastern Plume treatment plant.
  • An initiative to publish a newsletter and to develop a reuse plan based on "Smart Growth" endorsed.
2007-2010
  • Compilation and indexing of the "Administrative Record' concerning specific contamination sites made available in the public library. (Previously these records were only available through 2003 and were unindexed.)
  • The first of a "quarterly" newsletter scheduled for publication.
  • Progress in remediation as documented in "5 Year Reviews".
2011
  • Offical termination of U.S. Navy presence and the beginning of land transfers to private entities, other government agencies and state-chartered entities.

List of Contaminants

The State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection [MDEP] is involved in the oversight of this site, including the hazardous waste remediation.  As of October 2001, MDEP published on their web site a "tracking system" matrix that identified 19 locations with 14 classifications of progress in remediation. That data still has relevance today in providing both a historical perspective of the known contaminants on the property and the on-going efforts to remediate some, but not all of the known problems.
Read the MDEP's List of Contaminants(PDF).
Toxic Barrel