Entrance to Fort Leonard Wood Training Center
Ariel view of the complete Weldon Spring Site cell
Control panel for a minuteman II missile

Federal facilities are currently or previously owned or operated U.S. government properties where hazardous (chemical and radiological) substances have been or could potentially be released to the environment, contaminating the soil, water and air, and threatening public health and the environment. The majority of these sites were owned or operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Just like other hazardous waste contaminated sites, DOD and DOE are required to investigate and clean up hazardous substance releases to the environment from facilities they currently or previously owned or operated.

In 1993, in response to requests from DOD and DOE, the department created its Federal Facilities Section to provide oversight for site management, investigations and cleanup of federal facilities in Missouri. The department's Federal Facilities Section addresses DOD and DOE's specific needs as they relate to each individual site. It also provides guidance to ensure that activities conducted at the sites follow both state and federal environmental laws and regulations. The department's ultimate goal is to ensure facilities meet environmental standards and are returned to productive public- or private-sector reuse.

MoDNR Role

The department's Federal Facilities Section has three main purposes:

  • Ensure the facilities follow Missouri’s environmental laws and regulations
  • Provide input on the day-to-day operation of cleanup activities
  • Promote, encourage and provide information exchange with communities

The department provides secondary oversight as facilities move through the environmental investigation and cleanup process. Department staff are assigned as project managers to current and former DOD military sites, former DOE sites, some civilian federal agency sites, such as General Services Administration (GSA) sites, as well as some U.S. Department of Agriculture Grain Bin sites and any sites containing radiological contamination. Project managers provide independent environmental oversight of monitoring and cleanup activities, sample collection and independent analysis and offer comments on proposed environmental cleanup work plans and technical documents. Some staff also collect, monitor and coordinate radioactive materials shipment fees.

Project managers also communicate with the public, by attending or presenting at technical and public meetings. They also are available to provide one-on-one discussions before or after meetings and at open house format meetings. Project managers coordinate these activities with other state, local and federal agencies to ensure that human health and the environment are protected.

Investigation and Cleanup Process

Two main federal environmental laws regulate federal facility sites: the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Federal Facility Compliance Act (FFCA). Under CERCLA, sites are required to cleanup hazardous substances. Under FFCA, federal sites become subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA regulates hazardous waste from "cradle-to-grave". This means hazardous waste is tracked and regulated from the time it is created, until it is recycled, treated or disposed, including when it is transported and stored. RCRA also requires investigation and clean up of hazardous waste releases to the environment from hazardous waste management facilities.

Most federal facility site cleanups involve various contaminants, including radioactive wastes, explosives, unexploded ordnance, depleted uranium, solvents, petroleum wastes and mixed wastes, which are wastes that are both hazardous and radiologically contaminated. The process for investigating and cleaning up these sites follows roughly the same process used to investigate and clean up Superfund sites.

Site Progress

Currently, the department's Federal Facilities Section is coordinating with other state, local and federal agencies to oversee pre-investigation, investigation, cleanup or stewardship of 305 sites. Twenty three sites are in the pre-investigation phase and 41 sites are in the investigation phase, including Montgomery City Former USDA Grain Bins, National Imagery & Mapping Agency, Richards Gebaur Air Force Base, Rosecrans Army Air Field and National Guard, Tyson Valley Powder Farm and Weingarten POW Camp. Project managers are actively working on cleanup activities at 14 sites, including well-known sites such as Fort Leonard Wood, Hematite Radioactive site, Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Weldon Spring Ordnance Works, West Lake Landfill and six Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) sites. 

Currently, 167 sites have been cleaned to an acceptable level and are in long-term stewardship, including Forest Park Recreation Camp, Minuteman II sites and the Weldon Spring site. Since its creation, the department's Federal Facilities Section has completed cleanup activities and closed 60 sites, including Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, University of Missouri Rifle Ranges and Sedalia Army Air Field Division Training Area, which were once major sites. For more detailed information about specific sites of interest, visit the department's Federal Facilities Sites webpage.