Exploring the TNT Area of West Virginia (Part 1)

Jul 2016

Just north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is 8,000+ acres that was once home to a US Army facility dedicated to the manufacturing of ammunition and explosives during World War II. The $45 Million project was only operational from 1942 to the end of the war in 1945 and employed around 3,500 people during the peak of operations. The explosives for safety reasons were stored in bunkers or “igloos” that were strategically scattered across the territory and hidden by a thick layer of earth to prevent being spotted from the air. The plant was disposed of shortly after the war and the surrounding land was utilized for a landfill, the Mason County Airport, an industrial park, and the McClintic Wildlife Management Area. This area is most famously known as the location of one of the first sightings of a cryptid known as “The Mothman” in November 1966. During the late 70’s a fisherman reported red water seepage at the site and in 1981 TNT, DNT,  and other contaminates from the WWII operations were discovered. In September of 1983 the site was included on the EPA’s National Priorities List making it eligible for the cleanup under the Superfund program. It was then listed as West Virginia’s top priority site and one of the top ten polluted in the entire country. A handful of the bunkers are still in use and are leased to private companies/individuals. In the summer of 2010 one of those bunkers containing ammunition exploded, the cause was determined to be from a deterioration of the ammunition and the excessive heat. In the summer of 2012 another bunker owned by the same individual also containing ammunition and propellents exploded, this time it was ruled as arson by the state fire marshal