Entrance to Fort Leonard Wood Training Center

Named in honor of Major General Leonard Wood, Fort Leonard Wood was activated on Jan. 1, 1941. The base served as a U.S. Army basic training center, training approximately 320,000 soldiers during World War II. Base history also includes serving as a prisoner of war facility. The base was deactivated in 1946, but soon reopened as a training facility at the start of the Korean conflict.  

Today, Fort Leonard Wood is a busy installation where 80,000 military and civilians are trained in active component classes each year. Diverse activities conducted at the site have resulted in impacts to the environment. Environmental concerns at the site include soil and groundwater contamination, military munitions cleanups, landfill cleanup activities and long-term stewardship. 

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the Military Police School and Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; both transferred from Ft. McClellan, Alabama, as well as the U.S. Army Engineer School.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Role

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is involved in a number of roles at Fort Leonard Wood. The department ensures the Fort’s surface water and air discharges comply with applicable state and federal standards. The department also provides regulatory oversight for environmental cleanups of legacy sites, compliance cleanups and munitions response sites.

Contacts

Overview

The Problem

Historic practices have resulted in uncontrolled releases of contaminants into the environment at active and transferred portions of Fort Leonard Wood.

Contaminants of Concern

Due to the wide variety of activities that have historically occurred at Fort Leonard Wood, multiple environmental releases have occurred. Past dry cleaning activities resulted in groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents below the cantonment area. At other areas of the Fort, there have been releases of pesticides, petroleum, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), per and poly fluorochemicals (PFAS), domestic, construction and demolition landfill constituents, military munitions and munitions constituents.

What’s Been Done

The U.S. Army is working to address these environmental releases through a number of cleanup programs. The U.S. Army has taken the following actions to date:

  • Conducted a significant number of remedial investigations
  • Conducted soil removal
  • Conducted monitoring at the former post dry cleaning facility
  • Developed final remedies to address two out-of-use landfills

What’s Left

A number of sites at Fort Leonard Wood still require investigations or cleanup investigations. These include a recently discovered landfill, potential perfluorinated compounds (PFC) sites and some closed ranges. Of the sites that have been investigated, many still need to be cleaned up. These sites include landfills, a pesticide storage and mixing facility and closed ranges. 

Looking to the Future

The U.S. Army expects to maintain ownership of Fort Leonard Wood. If Fort Leonard Wood is ever closed, the department will work with the Army to ensure present land use controls are carried forward so the site can be safely reused. 

Details

Site Description

Fort Leonard Wood is located in South Central Missouri, almost entirely in Pulaski County, with small portions located in Laclede and Texas counties. The facility occupies approximately 63,000 acres. Named in honor of Major General Leonard Wood, the Fort was activated on Jan. 1, 1941, as a U.S. Army basic training center. During World War II, the Fort trained approximately 320,000 soldiers. Beginning 1943, Fort Leonard Wood served as a prisoner of war facility. The Fort was deactivated in 1946, and reopened as a training facility in 1950, at the start of the Korean conflict.

Fort Leonard Wood continues to be a thriving and prosperous installation that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians in active component classes each year. The Fort is also home to the Military Police School and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, both transferred from Ft. McClellan, Alabama, as well as the U.S. Army Engineer School. Environmental concerns at the site include groundwater contamination, landfill cleanup activities and hazardous waste storage. 

The Problem 

Contamination at Fort Leonard Wood is the result of training and housing military and civilian personnel. The Fort has a variety of legacy environmental releases, most notably, chlorinated solvents, that would typically be seen at commercial properties (dry cleaning releases, landfills, etc.). There is also contamination that is unique to a military installation (munitions, munitions constituents, etc.). At other areas of the Fort, there have been releases of pesticides, petroleum, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), per and poly fluorochemicals (PFAS), domestic, construction and demolition landfill constituents and military munitions and munitions constituents.

Environmental Restoration

To address the environmental concerns at Fort Leonard Wood, the U.S. Army contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist with investigating and ultimately remediating the areas that could potentially cause harm to workers, residents and ecological receptors located on base. These investigations are broken down into three categories. The Fort Leonard Wood Installation Restoration Program (IRP) addresses legacy hazardous releases to the environment. The Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) addresses munitions contamination and the residues from past munitions activities. The Compliance Cleanup Program (CCP) addresses more recent releases of hazardous substances to the environment.

The actions the U.S. Army has taken include the following:

  • Two inactive landfills located on base were properly closed
  • A soil removal action was conducted at the former post dry cleaning facility and a monitoring program is currently underway to verify the effectiveness of the removal action
  • Located below the cantonment area, groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents from past dry cleaning activities is being monitored
  • A number of investigations and feasibility studies are taking place to determine the proper actions necessary to clean up the remaining sites

What’s Left

Active sites at Fort Leonard Wood are currently in various phases of investigatory and remedial action activities. A number of sites still require investigations or cleanup investigations, including a recently discovered landfill, potential perfluorinated compounds (PFC) sites and some closed ranges. Of the sites that have been investigated, many still need to be cleaned up. These sites include landfills, a pesticide storage and mixing facility and closed ranges. 

Community Involvement

The Department of the Army prepared a community involvement plan (CIP) for the environmental restoration activities at Fort Leonard Wood. The main goal of the CIP is to provide guidance for public involvement associated with the IRP, MMRP and CCP activities. The CIP outlines activities that help establish effective and comprehensive communication with the community, solicit input, identify local community concerns regarding current and future cleanup program activities and support proactive, two-way communication between the Army and the local community. The CIP was created to meet the communication needs of local citizens and neighbors; installation residents and tenants; federal, state and local officials and agencies; and local businesses and civic interest groups. The U.S. Army regularly reaches out to the community for input on proposed remedy decisions. Information exchange and requests for public input for this site is mainly achieved through public meetings.

Every five years, public input on the selected remedies is solicited through the five-year review process. The administrative record for Fort Leonard Wood, which contains additional site information, the five-year review report and the community involvement plan for the site, is located off base at the Fort Leonard Wood Administrative Record, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood Visitor Center, 874 Missouri Ave., Building 100, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Looking to the Future

The department and Fort Leonard Wood continue to work together to investigate potential environmental releases and develop remedies that will comply with relevant state regulations and be protective of human health and the environment.