Pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, otherwise known as CERCLA or Superfund, the former Fort Devens (Devens) was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) on December 21, 1989, because of environmental contamination at several locations. CERCLA provides a consistent, science-based approach across the Nation for cleanup and includes environmental regulators and public participation. DoD follows the CERCLA process to fully investigate a release and determine the appropriate cleanup actions based on risk.
The contamination at Devens is associated with historic underground storage tanks/fuel depots and contaminated soils containing petroleum products and chemicals. Since its placement on the NPL, the Army BRAC Environmental Restoration Program has cleaned up numerous contaminated sites and transferred 4,000 acres of Former Fort Devens for property reuse and redevelopment.
The remaining cleanup sites include ongoing groundwater remediation at the former Moore Army Airfield and the former Shepley's Hill Landfill in addition to the long-term groundwater monitoring at four historic petroleum contaminated sites.
In 2016, the Army initiated the CERCLA process to evaluate the emerging contaminants known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, which were detected in groundwater and in the municipal water supply wells for Devens and the Town of Ayer. The remedial investigation and cleanup of Army releases of PFAS under CERCLA at Former Fort Devens is the focus of information available on this web site. Following CERCLA's consistent, science-based approach, Army uses toxicity information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when assessing risk to human health under CERCLA. Under the EPA's longstanding risk assessment and hierarchy of toxicity value policies, the EPA Health Advisory (HA) toxicity information is used to determine a site-specific risk-based cleanup level. The Army uses clarifying technical guidance to ensure a consistent approach to investigating PFAS and using EPA's toxicity values for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) within the DoD cleanup program.