Radford Army Ammunition Plant cited for toxins in New River, fined $21,145

RADFORD, Va. – The Radford Army Ammunition Plant, more commonly known as the Radford Arsenal, has been cited for releasing excessive levels of toxins into the New River, according to state regulators.

As part of an agreement with the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality in response to the citation, the plant has agreed to pay a fine of $21,145.

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There are water treatment plants at the arsenal that have been authorized to release treated wastewater from the following: the manufacturing area, runoff from rooftops, a fly ash truck loading area, and other areas across the plant.

The violation is for wastewater released that had treatment plant efficiency that fell out of acceptable ranges that were set by DEQ. Documents show that there was no environmental harm or harm to the public.

Documents from DEQ showed there have been more than 20 excessive releases between Jan. 10, 2022 and Dec. 10, 2022. Out of those violations, one was considered to have serious potential for harm. Eleven were classified as moderate, 12 were classified as marginal and two were not considered.

The plant claims that a change in laboratories is a factor in the exceedances.

DEQ found that the arsenal “was aware of the permit limits and legal requirements that were violated and had fall control over the events constituting the violation.”

Below is a statement from BAE Systems, Inc. the civilian operator of the plant:

The consent order does not reference nitroglycerin, copper and lead. The exceedances were for treatment plant efficiency (BOD and toxicity) that fell out of acceptable ranges.

We take the health and safety of our community very seriously, and extensive controls and safety measures, including stringent permitting and reporting requirements, are in place to ensure the health and safety of the surrounding communities and to protect the environment. The Radford Army Ammunition Plant fully abides by all applicable federal and state laws when storing, processing, treating, discharging and reporting all hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste. We have a wastewater compliance program to monitor and minimize all discharges, and we report all those discharges to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Corrective actions related to the wastewater permit excursions have already been completed, and the exceedances referenced did not endanger public health and there were no observed impacts to the environment.

Claire Powell, director of communications at BAE Systems, Inc.

The plant will hold a community meeting on April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Christiansburg Library, and the event will be on Facebook live on the arsenal’s page.

You can find the enforcement recommendation and plan from DEQ below:

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