Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments about the environmental investigation activities
please contact:

Ms. Amanda Martin
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742

Former New York Ordnance Works (NYOW)

The former New York Ordnance Works (NYOW) facility is located in Onondaga County, New York, near the Finger Lakes, about one-mile northeast of the town of Baldwinsville and approximately 13 miles north of Syracuse, New York.  The facility was designed to manufacture 60,000 pounds of ammonium picrate per day, seven days a week near the end of World War II. Ammonium picrate, also known as Dunnite or “Explosive D”, is an explosive compound used in the production of armor piercing shells.                                                                                                                                                                              

Site History

The federal government acquired the 6,795-acre property and completed construction of the facility in May 1943. The facility consisted of an Administration area, Ammonium Picrate area, Acid area, Landfill area, Bunker area and a Power Plant area. It encompassed approximately 2,100 acres of the property with the remainder as farmland. The National Aniline Defense Corporation, a Division of Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation, operated the facility under supervision of the Chief of Ordnance of the War Department. The facility shut down and manufacturing operations ceased in less than a year in March 1944. 

Chemicals used or produced on-site during operations included dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), 2,4-dinitrophenol (2,4-DNP), picric acid (2,4,6-trinitrophenol), sulfuric acid, nitric acid, sodium hydroxide, aqueous ammonia, and ammonium picrate. There are no documented spills in the historical records for the site. However, in an abundance of caution, the site will be assessed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 to confirm that no contaminants spilled or leaked onto the ground from processes and equipment during the ammonium picrate operations.

Environmental Investigation Activities

The most comprehensive environmental investigations conducted at the former NYOW were completed in 1981 and 1989. The investigations detected some constituents, such as chromium, lead, arsenic, semi-volatile organic compounds and explosives in soil and groundwater. The data collected during these investigations is insufficient to assess risk due to its age and sampling distribution. Based on historical information and previous environmental investigations, four AOCs have been identified for future groundwater and soil investigations. They are AOC 1 - Former Ammonium Picrate area, AOC 3 - Former Landfill area, AOC 4 - Former Bunker area, and AOC 5 - Former Power Plant area.

Related Documents

Future Work

USACE will further investigate the four identified AOCs at the former NYOW facility under the DERPFUDS, authorized by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986. In the winter 2021, USACE began on-site investigation activities to  is further characterize the impacts to groundwater and soil related to former DoD activities. As of November 2022, it anticipated that on-site investigations will continue for approximately 1-2 years to collect data that will be used to assess risk to human health and the environment. If unacceptable risk is found, USACE will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate possible remedial action alternatives.