aka: WVOV, Point Pleasant Depot
associated with the Mothman incidents
During the years of operation of WVOW, Point Pleasant was a boom-town. Chemists, scientists, engineers, electricians, plumbers, masons, heavy construction crews, and laborers representing nearly every building trade were required for the rapid buildup. Workers from all over the country converged on this area and construction continued around the clock. Residents claim the streets of downtown Point Pleasant were packed with people like the streets of New York City. Ordinance School was hurriedly constructed for the surge of children of construction workers and staff personnel and was the first ever elementary school built by the federal government. New housing additions were built in Point Pleasant for plant workers. Housing was constructed near the plant for military staff who oversaw and guarded the facility. Local men working at the plant were exempted from military service.
The former West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) was an explosives manufacturing facility constructed for the sole purpose of producing 720,000 tons of TNT per day. It was constructed on 8,323 acres. The site is located on the east bank of the Ohio River, along State Route 62, 6 miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. From 1942 to 1945, the e West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) manufactured explosives for use in munitions and explosives for the war effort. Although owned by DoD, WVOW was operated by a private company to produce TNT. When it closed in 1945, WVOW was declared surplus, and the structures were salvaged or disposed. The former West Virginia Ordnance Works is on the National Priorities List and work is being done there by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Environmental efforts at the West Virginia Ordnance Works present a typical profile of a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) property. Manufacturing activities at WVOW during World War II resulted in soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination. Residual contamination from WW II-era manufacturing did not become apparent until 1979, when personnel managing the wildlife station observed red water seeps near the site of a former retention pond. Studies beginning in 1979 confirmed the extent of contamination with TNT-related residues.
Fishermen saw red liquid bubbling to the surface back in the 1980’s. Future testing found the red goo to be a toluene compound, which later lead to the site being given Top 10 Superfund Cleanup”status and tagged one of the most polluted sites in the US.