Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant

Public Notice for Draft-Statements of Basis

Areas of Concern 18, 19, 20, and 21

Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, DeSoto, Kansas

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is soliciting public comments regarding a remediation proposal for No Further Corrective Action Planned for four sites at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (SFAAP) near De Soto, Kansas. The Sites of interest are Area of Concern (AOC) 18 Potential Trench Disposal Area, AOC 19 Trench Disposal Area A4, AOC 20 Potential Trench Disposal Pit Area and AOC 21 Trench Disposal Area A6. KDHE will select a final remedy for the sites after reviewing and considering all information submitted during a 45-day public comment period of September 2 through October 14, 2021. The Draft-Statements of Basis (SB) presents KDHE's preferred alternatives for the sites; however, KDHE may modify the alternative or select another response action based on new information or public comments.

The Draft SB documents and other information on the cleanup for the Sites are available for public review at the KDHE office in Topeka by contacting Margaret Townsend, Unit Chief at (785) 296-8801. Also, KDHE established a webpage dedicated to the Sunflower Site which includes the Administrative Record for AOCs 18-21. The KDHE website is available during the comment period at:

KDHE will accept written comments on the SFAAP AOC 18 draft SB, AOC 19 draft SB, AOC 20 draft SB, and AOC 21 draft SB from September 2 through October 14, 2021. A public meeting is not scheduled at this time but may be held virtually or in person if the public requests one in writing with a statement of issues to be discussed.

Public comments on the Draft SBs may be submitted to KDHE in writing during the 45 day period at the address listed below, or by electronic mail (email) Comments sent by mail must be postmarked by October 14, 2021 and emails also must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2021. All comments that are received by KDHE prior to the end of the public comment period will be addressed by KDHE in the Responsiveness Summary Section of the Final Decision and Response to Comments document.

Areas of Concern

Site Background

Map of Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Operating Units, showing Solid Waste Management Units 3 and 20 AOC 18 AOC 19,21 AOC 20
Right: Detail map of Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Areas of Concern, with Areas of Concern 18, 19 & 21, and 20 highlighted in yellow. Click on the highlighted areas to access detailed information about these remedial project areas. Click here for a larger version of the map.

The former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (SFAAP) is located near DeSoto, Kansas, in the northwest corner of Johnson County. It is approximately 30 miles southwest of Kansas City, Kansas, and 16 miles east of Lawrence, Kansas. SFAAP includes approximately 9,065 acres and is primarily surrounded by agricultural land. It is bounded on the east by Spoon and Kill Creeks and on the west by Captain Creek (Figure 1). The plant consisted of production facilities, administrative and storage facilities, powerhouses, landfills, lagoons, ditches, burning grounds, sumps, projectile ranges, and waste treatment facilities. Most of the assets of the plant are no longer in active use.

The Army commissioned SFAAP in March 1942 to produce smokeless powder and other propellants. The propellants produced consisted of the base explosives: nitrocellulose (NC), nitroglycerine (NG), and nitroguanidine (NQ). The facility also produced certain other chemicals necessary to produce the explosives (e.g., nitric and sulfuric acids). NC and NG powder production began in March 1943. NC and NG production was carried out at various times between the 1940s and early 1970s. Only nitric acid, sulfuric acid, oleum (concentrated sulfuric acid), and NQ were manufactured between 1971 and 1992, with most of the installation in inactive status. The plant was declared excess in 1998 by the US Army and the property was made available for sale. The property was formally sold to Sunflower Redevelopment, Inc. in 2005.

In August 1980, SFAAP submitted notification of hazardous waste activity to obtain interim status for the treatment and storage of hazardous wastes. In December 1991, KDHE and the EPA jointly issued SFAAP a RCRA hazardous waste management permit, Parts I and II. Part I, administered by KDHE, authorizes the storage of hazardous wastes. Part II, administered by the EPA Region 7, required the investigation of releases from 49 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). After Part II was issued in 1991, additional SWMUs and Areas of Concern (AOCs) were identified. An AOC is an area where hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents have been identified but are not linked to a specific solid waste management practice. There are currently 70 SWMUs and 25 AOCs at the former SFAAP. The Army completed several site-specific studies investigating the potential for releases of hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents at SFAAP (Law, 1996, USACHPPM, 1998).

Additional Information

Fox4KC News article: Army hits new milestone in Sunflower Ammunition Plant cleanup efforts in De Soto

For additional information, please contact: