Midway Base Closure
In 1988, Midway Atoll became an "overlay" national wildlife refuge, still subject to primary jurisdiction of the Navy. In 1993, Naval Air Facility operations shutdown completely. As part of the base realignment and closure process, the Navy removed over 100 underground fuel tanks and numerous structures and cleaned up the Atoll.
Midway Contaminant Cleanup Summary
As part of the Base Realignment and Closure process and associated transfer agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Navy assumed responsibility for cleaning up environmental contamination at Naval Air Facility Midway Island. Highlights include the following:
Following extensive field investigations and sample analyses, removal actions were conducted at 10 sites.
1,390 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil were excavated and treated. 1,578 cubic yards of DDT/DDE contaminated soil were excavated and treated. In addition to surface contamination, leaking and out-of-service fuel tanks caused extensive petroleum contamination of groundwater and subsurface soil.
132 underground and aboveground storage tanks (some as large as 2.2 million gallons) were removed. Several miles of petroleum pipeline was drained and removed. 10,657 cubic yards of petroleum-contaminated soil were excavated and treated. 90,000 gallons of petroleum product were extracted from the groundwater.
Other contamination and wildlife hazards were identified and became a significant focus during the cleanup process.
111 buildings and other structures were demolished. Two active landfills were investigated, capped, and closed. Large amounts of metal debris was removed from shorelines and other wildlife habitats. Deteriorating asbestos materials and lead-based paint were removed from dozens of structures. Hundreds of batteries, compressed gas cylinders, and other metal debris were removed from near-shore waters.
Several programs were initiated to restore wildlife habitat impacted by the closure operations and to secure historically significant buildings. These projects are ongoing under Fish and Wildlife Service management.
Rats were eliminated from both Eastern Island and Sand Island. The Navy provided funding to the Fish and Wildlife Service for the development of a native plant nursery and initiated a habitat restoration effort.
Clean up crews secured windows, doors, and other openings on several historic buildings and structures.
In 1992 and 1994, federal cultural resource surveyors from Washington. D.C. assessed the historical significance of all the structures; 78 properties were determined to be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
A monument funded by the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr., Memorial Foundation, Inc. and erected by the International Midway Memorial Foundation lists all American forces involved in the Battle of Midway. Many units suffered heavy losses including two-thirds of the combat planes that took off from Midway and half of their crewmen.
In August 1996, Midway opened to public vistation. On October 31, 1996, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13022 putting Midway under Department of the Interior jurisdiction. The formal transfer occurred during a ceremony on April 6, 1997. On June 30, 1997, the last Navy personnel boarded a C5-A cargo plane, and left Midway to the goonies.