United States
Environmental Protection
 Award-Winning Advisory Board Drives the  Redevelopment
           of Former Air Station into Community Asset
           Cecil Field Naval Air Station, Jacksonville,  FL
              Construction of new hangar at the former Cecil Field MAS facility
                      Inset: New sign at Cecil Commerce Center
Since World War II, the Cecil Field Naval Air Station has been a hub of activity for US Naval operations.
With active and dedicated support from the local community, the air station underwent extensive
environmental evaluation and expedited transfer for private use. Today, Cecil Field supports
hundreds of jobs in the industrial manufacturing and commercial shipping sectors.
                                        Located in the northeastern corner of Florida
                                        in Duval and Clay Counties, the Cecil Field
                                        Naval Air Station (Cecil Field) was one of the
                                        largest military bases in the area covering
                                        approximately 22,000 acres. Cecil Field was
                                        established in 1941, soon after the attack on
                                        Pearl Harbor, as a location for replacement
                                        pilot combat training. Cecil Field operated until
                                        1999 when, as part of the Base Realignment
                                        and Closure (BRAC) program, the air station was
                                        decommissioned. Cecil Field is now the site of a
                                        major commercial center and the Jacksonville
                                        campus of the Florida Community College.
                                        The Cecil Field installation was commissioned as
                                        a naval auxiliary air station in 1943 and became
                                        the principal war-at-sea and dive-bombing
                                        training center for the Navy. In the 1950s, Cecil
 New sign for the Jacksonville Airport Authorit

Field was repositioned as an operating base
for fleet aircraft units, and was one of only
four bases in the country specifically used for
operation of jet aircraft. The primary function
of the base was to provide facilities, services,
and material support for the operation and
maintenance of naval weapons, aircraft,
and other units of the operating forces. By
the time Cecil Field was decommissioned in
1999, the base consisted of over 17,000 acres
of contiguous property,  and an additional
15,000 acres of noncontiguous property used
for bombing ranges and an outlying landing
field. Maintenance activities over the years
generated a variety of waste materials including
municipal solid waste, municipal wastewater
treatment plant sludge,  waste fuels and waste
oils, chlorinated solvents, paints and spilled fuels,
and waste pesticides.

Environmental studies were conducted at Cecil
Field between 1983 and 1985 as part of the
Department of Defense Installation Restoration
Program  (IRP), which seeks to identify,
investigate, and clean up contamination from
hazardous materials at military installations.
These IRP investigations initially identified 18 waste
disposal areas located throughout the base as
containing hazardous substances. These  areas
included  landfills, lagoons, and waste piles
that received spent solvents, paint wastes, and
wastes containing chromium and lead. The
various contaminants were found in on-site soils,
creek sediments and surface water, and ground

Due to the findings of the initial environmental
studies, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) added the site to the
Air sparging system for groundwater treatment
National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 for further
environmental investigation. A Federal Facility
Agreement (FFA) was signed by Florida
Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP),
EPA and the Navy on October 23, 1990. A FFA
creates relationships between national, regional
and local agencies to expedite and effectively
restore the site for private or public use. By 1994,
the air station was slated for closure by the Base
Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.
A BRAC Cleanup Team (BCT), consisting of
representatives from EPA, the state of Florida, the
Navy, and contractors, was convened to guide
the cleanup process and to act as a liaison with
the community. On September 30, 1999 the
base was officially closed to undergo cleanup.

In order to give the local community a voice
in cleanup and reuse activities and keep them
up to date with the project, the Cecil Field
Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) was created
in 1994 with the announcement that Cecil Field
would be closing. The Cecil Field RAB  consisted
of 25 members of the local community. They
produced a newsletter and, for over 8 years,
held monthly meetings that were open to
the public. Members of the Cecil Field RAB
voluntarily participated in a workshop on
consensus building and dedicated a half-hour
of each meeting to education in environmental
topics. In April 1996, the Cecil Field RAB was
awarded a Citation for Meritorious Achievement
by the Department of Defense for their
dedication  to the cleanup of Cecil Field and the
smooth transition of property to reuse. Meetings
between the Cecil Field RAB and government
Sign for the new Embraer Air facility

                             Cecil Field MAS BRAC Cle<
agencies helped develop a strong relationship
that enabled the Cecil Field RAB to participate
in the Fast Track Cleanup Program. As a
result, MAS Cecil Field was presented with the
"Secretary of Defense Environmental Cleanup
Award for Installation Restoration." Due to the
progress made in the cleanup and reuse at
Cecil Field, the Cecil Field RAB no  longer meets
on a regular basis.

An Environmental Baseline Survey, which
identifies parcels of land for sale, lease or
needing further investigation,  was completed
in November 1994. Some portions  of the Cecil
Field property were immediately ready for
transfer to the private sector for reuse. This led
to the creation of the Cecil Field Development
Commission whose task it was to create a
reuse plan for the air station. The Commission
was soon succeeded by the Jacksonville
Economic Development Commission (JEDC),
which is made up of business  leaders from the
Jacksonville area and is still active today. In
1996, the JEDC submitted a reuse  plan to the
Jacksonville City Council which  approved the
reuse plan. By 1999 a full business plan was in
place for the air station, including  a fast-tracked
turnover of the airport to the Jacksonville Airport

In 2003, with concurrence from the Navy, EPA
deleted over 16,000 acres from  the NPL listing
because they were determined to not pose any
risk to human health or the environment. This
cleared the way for the delisted property to be
transferred for private use. Subsequently, 15,000
acres were given to NAS Jacksonville, another
naval air station in Jacksonville; 8,000 acres to
the JEDC; and 2,670 acres to Clay County and
Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.
Some areas of the base continue to undergo
cleanup, including long-term monitoring of
creek sediments and surface water, natural
attenuation, soil excavation with off-site disposal
and air sparging of groundwater.

As a former military base, Cecil Field has a
strong infrastructure to offer potential tenants.
It is proximal to 1-10, a  CSX rail corridor, and has
runways on the property. The property is now
home to the Cecil Commerce Center, a new
development zoned for light and heavy industry,
as well as commercial, recreational and aviation
use. To spur progress at Cecil Field, the Florida
Department of Transportation invested $180
million in roads and infrastructure at the base.

Currently, 20 tenants are leasing 26 buildings
on the property and employing  over 1,400
people. Large corporations like Boeing, Northrop
Grumman, and Bridgestone/Firestone,  have
seized upon the opportunities available at
Cecil Commerce Center and have opened
production facilities. Boeing is using its space at

                            Construction at Cecil Commerce Center
Cecil Commerce Center for the final assembly
of the C-27J Spartan cargo plane for the military.
Flightstar Aircraft Services Inc., signed an aircraft
maintenance contract with FedEx Corp in May
2008, bringing more business to the revived air

Educational, community, and political leaders
gathered in May 2006 to break ground for the
first permanent buildings of Florida Community
College Jacksonville (FCCJ), a 130-acre campus
at Cecil Center. The Cecil Center Campus
takes advantage of its proximity to the airport
and offers programs for air traffic control,
aviation maintenance, truck driving and college
preparatory programs. Since the Navy left in
1999, the City of Jacksonville has spent roughly
$200 million on redevelopment in the area. This
funding has led to the development of many new
neighborhoods and shopping centers  in the area.

In addition, 1,358 acres at the Cecil Commerce
Center are designated as a natural and
recreational corridor and will be managed by
state and local agencies. With the Department
of the Interior's approval, this area is being
master planned to include passive forms of
recreation such as hiking and horseback riding
trails, camping, hunting and fishing. The area
is a small portion of a larger natural wildlife
preservation corridor connecting Jennings State
Forest, in Clay County with Cary State Forest,
north of Cecil Commerce Center.
                                For more information, call or write:

                            U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                           Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
                           Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office
                                   1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
                                       Mail Code: 5106P
                                   Washington, DC 20460-0001

                                     Phone: (703) 603-0048


    Visit the FFRRO Web site for more information about federal facility cleanups, including success stories,
            descriptions of new initiatives, policy and guidance documents, and our newsletter.
                                 EPA-505-F-09-002    August 2009