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Ramey Air Force Base Formerly Used Defense Site

B-24 Liberators Borinquen Field Ramey Museum


The U.S. government began acquiring property in 1939 to establish what became known as Ramey Air Force Base. Located north of Aguadilla, it grew to encompass approximately 4,357 acres. In addition to runways, hangars and related structures, it also included medical facilities, a golf course, water treatment plants and housing. Initially known as Borinquén Field, it was an important location during World War II, providing a base for reconnaissance flights to defend the US against German U-boats. It also served as a refueling station and maintenance area for aircraft flying to Europe and Africa. In 1948 it was renamed Ramey Air Force Base and was operated under the Strategic Air Command. Ramey played a critical role during the Cold War for reconnaissance missions and refueling squadrons. B-52 bombers arrived at Ramey in the 1950s, and bomber crews continued to be on alert at Ramey until 1972.
By 1973, the Air Force no longer needed the base, and it was deactivated.

The property was transferred to other entities, and now the former base is home to Rafael Hernandez Airport and other governmental facilities and private enterprises.

A number of investigations have been conducted over the years at two locations known as Landfill Area 1 (about 5.4 acres) and Suspected Waste Area 2 (approximately 11 acres). They are in an undeveloped area within the airport property, south of the runway. The purpose of the investigations was to determine if there are any environmental impacts attributable to the military.

The investigations included reviewing historical documents and photographs, and geophysical surveys to identify buried debris and to assess the boundaries of the potential landfill and suspected waste areas. Teams also collected 160 samples from the soil, sediment, and groundwater, and they dug holes (known as test pits) to see if debris associated with a landfill was present. They looked in 18 test pits in Landfill 1 Area and 30 in Suspected Waste Area 2. These tools, along with other tests, helped the Corps determine how the military used these two areas and if there are military-related environmental impacts.

There is evidence that the Air Force did use Landfill 1 Area for that purpose, but they did not find buried debris at Suspected Waste Area 2 which means the Air Force did not use that area as a landfill. Some metals were detected in the soil within Landfill 1 and in the soil around the landfill, but their concentrations were at or below the levels detected in the soil in areas away from the landfill. Some metals occur naturally in the environment, and the amounts vary according to location. Samples collected away from the landfill document what amount of metals in the soil is considered normal. The test results, along with the risk assessment, indicate there are no environmental impacts associated with the military’s use of the area.

The next step in the federally mandated process is the Proposed Plan. It summarizes the Remedial Investigation and presents recommendations and alternatives. There is no evidence of environmental impacts associated with the military at Landfill 1, and there is no evidence that the military ever used the Suspected Waste Area 2 as a landfill. Therefore, no further action is required.

Public Meeting & Comment

Ramey Air Force Base Formerly Used Defense Site
Public Meeting and Comment Period

Review the Proposed Plan for the Ramey Air Force Base Formerly Used Defense Site: https://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/utils/getfile/collection/p16021coll7/id/6236
Read the Fact Sheet for the Ramey Air Force Base Formerly Used Defense Site (English) February 2018: https://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/utils/getfile/collection/p16021coll7/id/6237

Public Meeting

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott located at West Parade/Belt Road in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Submit comments by email FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil by April 13, 2018.
Submit written comments to USACE, ATTN:  Wilberto Cubero (CESAJ-PM-M), 701 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207 (postmark by April 13, 2018)

Questions? Please call 800.710-5184 or email FUDS.PuertoRico@usace.army.mil.

Contact Information

Toll-Free 1-800-710-5184