Department of Defense


Site History and Location
Wright Patterson Air Force Base is located in southwestern Ohio, east of Dayton. It is approximately 60 miles northeast of Cincinnati and approximately 50 miles southwest of Columbus. The installation is comprised of two parts. Wright Field is designated Area B. Patterson Field is designated as areas A and C. Area B encompasses approximately 2800 acres. The area is made up of a complex of over 200 buildings and three runways that are no longer used for flying. Areas A and C encompass 5711 acres and are physically separated from Area B by state route 444 on the south and east. Area A has a mixture of land uses ranging from storage and warehousing to offices and classrooms. Area C is used for flying activities except for the built-up area adjacent to the city of Fairborn which is comprised of offices, dormitories, storage, and industrial and flight line facilities. Past waste disposal practices at WPAFB has resulted in 65 different disposal areas such as landfills, spill sites, fire training areas and chemical burial sites. Types of wastes disposed in these sites include solvents, contaminated thinners, degreasing sludge, tetraethyl lead sludge, and miscellaneous hazardous chemical, acids and reagents.

In February of 1988, Wright Patterson Air Force Base entered into an agreement with Ohio EPA to comply with State of Ohio environmental law requirements. The initial submittal of these requirements by Ohio EPA was in May 1989. In October 1989 Wright Patterson Air Force Base was placed on the National Priorities List for environmental clean up. Since this time all sites have been investigated and all locations requiring further action have been grouped into 11 operable units or "zones" by geographical location. These operable units have been studied and action is either taking place or not needed.

Environmental Threats

Ground Water:
WPAFB is located over a portion of the Miami Buried Valley Aquifer - a large buried valley containing a huge reservoir of ground water. This aquifer is the sole source of water for WPAFB and the Cities of Dayton and Fairborn. Ground water contamination from solvents was detected in WPAFB's water supply wells. Air strippers are now used to remove these contaminants from the water pumped from these wells prior to distribution.

The City of Dayton's Roher's Island wellfield is located immediately adjacent to the Area B boundary and approximately 2 miles west of the Area A and C boundary of WPAFB. In 1990, the city of Dayton found solvent contamination in the ground water at the western boundary of Area C. In 1991, WPAFB installed a ground water extraction and treatment system at the Area C boundary to prevent contamination from migrating to the City of Dayton wellfield. This ground water extraction and treatment system at the WPAFB boundary is still in operation.

Surface Water:
Rivers, streams and lakes may also be affected by past waste practices at WPAFB. Several past waste sites are located close to streams and lakes on WPAFB. Mud Run, Trout Creek, and Hebble Creek are streams which flow on WPAFB. They are also tributaries to the Mad River, which flows along the northwestern boundary of Areas A and C and northern boundary of Area B.

Operable Units:
The Operable Unit (OU) concept was developed to logistically deal with the complex issues and huge volume of work in the cleanup at WPAFB. The former waste disposal areas have been divided into 11 OUs by geographical location. All the OUs have been studied, with each having its own schedule for cleanup. Cleanup actions for eleven OUs are either finished or not needed. Click below to learn the cleanup status of the 11 operable units.












Basewide Monitoring Program

As investigations at the individual OUs progressed, it became evident that, due to the high potential for commingling of contaminant plumes from one OU to another, the ground water and surface water contamination was best addressed on a more "regional" scale. This resulted in the establishment of a ground water and surface water OU, also referred to as the Basewide Monitoring Program (BMP). The BMP covers: 1) monitoring of areas where active remedial action was not necessary but long-term monitoring of ground water was warranted, and 2) verification monitoring for areas down gradient of active remediation systems (OU1 and OU5).

Related Links:   Wright Patterson Air Force Office of Environmental Management
US EPA's site for Record of Decision (ROD) Abstracts

For environmental questions about this site contact:

Bonnie Buthker
401 Fifth Street
Dayton, OH 45402-2911
(937) 285-6469
FAX: (937) 285-6404