Military Munitions Response

Innovative Approaches: Executed Safely – HGL is a full-service military munitions response (MMR) provider with the capabilities to effectively execute any project, regardless of size or location, from concept through completion. HGL develops technical approaches specific to the unique characteristics of each site to ensure complete coverage of munitions clearance areas. These approaches are implemented in accordance with HGL’s stringent safety program by qualified personnel with expertise in munitions clearance and intrusive investigations. HGL has conducted MMR work at numerous Department of Defense (DoD) and non-DoD facilities, frequently addressing munitions debris (MD) and munitions constituents (MC) concurrently with hazardous, toxic, and radiological waste (HTRW) issues as well as chemical warfare materiel (CWM).

HGL’s multidisciplinary project delivery teams of program and project managers, unexploded ordnance (UXO) specialists, geophysicists, information and geospatial technologists, numerical modelers, and scientists focus on integrating specialized skills and experience to develop innovative technical approaches, expedite removal activities, and negotiate restoration exit strategies. HGL’s MMR expertise encompasses the following:

  • DAGCAP Accreditation
  • MMR Operational Planning
  • MMR Remedial Investigations (RIs)/Feasibility Studies (FSs)
  • MMR Removal Action
  • MMR Remedial Design
  • MMR Remedial Action
  • Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Risk Assessments
  • Emergency Response
  • Wide-Area Assessments
  • Digital Geophysical Mapping (DGM) and Data Acquisition/Interpretation
  • Advanced Geophysical Classification (AGC)
  • CWM Investigation/Remediation
  • MC Sampling and Analysis
  • MC Fate and Transport Modeling
  • Regulatory Interaction
  • GPS Data and GIS Systems
  • MMR Site Closures
  • MEC Construction/Excavation
  • MEC Demolition/Disposal
  • Community Relations
  • Operational Range Sustainment and Clearance

The following five projects demonstrate HGL’s expertise at munitions sites:

MEC Removal and HTRW Cleanup at Fort Belvoir Engineer Proving Ground (EPG), Fort Belvoir, Virginia

From 2008 through 2014, HGL was tasked with achieving Remedy in Place (RIP)/Response Complete (RC) at sites within the Fort Belvoir EPG, a high-profile BRAC installation, under a performance-based task order from the Army Environmental Command (AEC). The work, which was performed in close coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (CENAB), included completing a munitions clearance, environmental investigations, removal actions, remediation, and long-term management at seven sites that contained MEC, material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH), MC, and HTRW-contaminated soil and groundwater.

HGL performed a RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) followed by CERCLA remedial activities and removal actions to excavate and remove buried wastes and achieve site closure. The schedule for MEC removal was met, and HGL achieved RC at the MEC sites. No further action (NFA) was established as the preferred alternative for the seven sites.

During the removal actions, a large MEC/HTRW disposal pit was identified and required HGL to excavate an approximately 100-square-foot area to a depth of 26 feet. HGL used on-site testing of removed HTRW items to accelerate characterization of the excavated material, allowing for on-time completion of the MEC removal.

HGL continues to work with CENAB to provide environmental remediation services for 26 sites at Fort Belvoir, including the Mine and Booby Trap Area Munitions Response Site (MRS). The performance objectives and requirements to complete RC at this MRS include selecting the remedy by completing the Proposed Plan and Decision Document, implementing a focused MEC/MPPEH removal on 33 acres, and implementing land use controls as outlined in the FS.

Project Highlights
Completed MEC removal in an accelerated period of 9 months, which included removing MEC from a 100-square-foot pit that was approximately 26 feet deep, using mechanical excavation and sifting techniques.
Investigated over 226,000 anomalies and recovered 4,452 UXO items, 12,373 pounds of MD, and 76,305 pounds of non-ordnance-related debris.
Investigated MC and coincidental HTRW contamination, performing a chemical characterization of commingled HTRW to expedite work at one site and remediating metals at another to bring it to clean-closure.
Received final CPARS ratings of “Exceptional” for Quality, Management, and Regulatory Compliance; and “Very Good” for Schedule.

Underwater and Terrestrial RI/FS at the Former Fort Custer Recreation Area/Industrial Area, Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan

Under a performance-based task order, HGL was tasked with completing an RI/FS, a Proposed Plan, and Decision Documents for four munitions response sites (MRSs) comprising the Eagle Lake Burial Area, grenade courts, and suspected and known rocket/artillery ranges and bomb targets at the former Fort Custer. The 1,500-acre site was used for training from World War I through the Korean War and now consists of industrial and recreational areas. The recreational area receives over 60,000 visitors annually and is used for boating, swimming, and hiking, with more than 25 miles of multiuse trails.

HGL performed an underwater and terrestrial MMR RI that included AGC using man-portable vector (MPV) and MetalMapper 2×2 advanced geophysical sensors, DGM using an EM61 metal detector, and extensive underwater DGM, which required diving and deploying remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). In the process HGL completed over 85 acres of waterborne DGM, 150 acres of side scan sonar, ROV inspection of over 100 anomalies, and underwater intrusive investigation of 150 anomalies. Through historical photograph analysis, HGL positively identified an artillery range fan and then refined the direction of fire based on field investigation findings.

Intrusive results show that Eagle Lake and its eastern bank were mixed-use target areas that received fire from Stokes mortars, hand grenades, and 37mm and 75mm shrapnel projectiles. Target areas were extremely well defined with high confidence for follow-on remedial action phases. HGL reduced immediate risk along the multiuse trails within the target areas by clearing them of munitions, and raised MEC safety awareness by working closely with the volunteers who maintain the trails.

Project Highlights
Completed over 100 acres of waterborne DGM and UXO diving operations to characterize two underwater MRSs. Conducted AGC and DGM for 30 miles of transects and grids to characterize three land MRSs.
Addressed multiple types of munitions including 20- and 100-pound practice bombs, 37mm and 75mm projectiles, 3- and 4-inch Stokes mortars, 2.36- and 3.5-inch rockets, practice antitank landmines, and Mk2 grenades.
Explosively destroyed nine MEC items on site and disposed of over 2,700 lbs of material documented as safe (MDAS) off site.
Received CPARS ratings of “Exceptional” for Schedule, Management, and Regulatory Compliance; and “Very Good” for Quality in the 9/6/2018 interim evaluation.

Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA), Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

HGL completed a munitions response TCRA at the Flamenco Beach and Campground on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico. Flamenco Beach, which has been rated as one of the Top 10 beaches in the world, was also a munitions response site open to the public. HGL coordinated intrusive activities with local beach/campground authorities and employed AGC techniques to reduce the effect of the TCRA on the tourist-reliant local economy. MetalMapper 2×2 and TEMTADS 2×2 advanced sensors were used for dynamic and cued AGC data collection. By using AGC to positively identify targets of interest in situ, fewer anomalies had to be dug and exclusions zones could be reduced or adjusted based on the munition expected to be encountered. Analog clearance followed by DGM was conducted in areas too anomaly dense for AGC.

Progress on the TCRA was affected by a series of hurricanes. HGL coordinated an emergency evacuation of site personnel in advance of Hurricane Irma, which was followed closely by Hurricane Maria. HGL coordinated remobilization to Culebra in a challenging post-hurricane environment. HGL had to find solutions for working in a cash-only economy and for managing travel logistics, acquiring viable lodging, and obtaining materials in a location where communications were limited to satellite phones and sporadic email access. HGL remobilized within 45 days of the hurricanes, resuming work on the project and providing a needed stimulus to the economy during a period of suspended tourism activity.

Project Highlights
Completed AGC- and DGM-based MEC clearance at Flamenco Campground.
Recovered and disposed of over 71,500 pounds of MDAS and 31 MEC items including 100- and 500-pound bombs, 3- and 5-inch projectiles, 81mm and 3-inch mortars, and 2.75- and 5-inch rockets.
Performed daily biological monitoring for threatened and endangered species, including turtles and a variety of plants, throughout fieldwork.
Expended over 49,000 labor hours with zero lost workday accidents or reportable injuries.

RI/FS at Camp Butner, Granville County, North Carolina

HGL completed a CERCLA RI to characterize the nature and extent of MEC and MC at five munitions response sites (MRSs) within the former Camp Butner, a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS). The purpose of the RI was to determine the presence or absence of MEC and MC at each of the MRSs, to define the nature and extent of any identified MEC/MC contamination, and to complete human health and ecological risk assessments. The RI delineated MEC and MC contamination at the MRSs, identified a new MRS, and recommended future remedial actions. HGL used RI-collected field data plus previously collected Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) and removal action data to identify data gaps, update the conceptual site model, evaluate MEC hazards and assess human health and ecological risks, and update the Munitions Response Site Prioritization Protocol and the MEC Hazard Assessment. Activities also included the completion of an FS, a Proposed Plan, and a Decision Document.

Project Highlights
Delineated MEC-contaminated areas with an accuracy of at least 250 feet, determined the potential depth of UXO with a 90% level of confidence, and determined the nature of MD with a 90% level of confidence.
Based on the findings of the RI, recommended that no further action be taken on one MRS and that the others proceed to the FS phase because of MEC contamination.
Identified risks such as being unable to obtain rights-of-entry (ROEs) for 100% of the property and mitigated the risk by assisting the U.S. Government in obtaining ROEs by visiting property owners, holding public meetings, and conducting mailings to solicit ROEs.

Performance-based Remediation Services at Fort McClellan, Alabama

HGL is conducting removal actions to remediate contaminated soils and sediments at the Bains Gap Road Ranges (BGRR), ranges near Training Area T-24A (T-24A), the Choccolocco Corridor Ranges (CCR), and the former 81mm Mortar Range (81MM). Soil contaminants of concern are MD, antimony, copper, lead, and zinc; and groundwater at T-24A is contaminated with benzene and carbon tetrachloride.

HGL completed soil source removal actions at T-24A, BGRR, CCR, and 81MM. Work included excavation, stabilization, and disposal of over 175,000 tons of soil and sediment. Excavated soil was collected into 300-cubic-yard stockpiles and sampled for lead. Stockpiles in which lead levels exceeded the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) limit were stabilized by being mechanically blended with approximately 12 tons of EnviroBlend®, a commercially available heavy metals stabilizing agent. Stockpiles in which lead did not exceed TCLP limits were transported off site for disposal as nonhazardous special waste. Sites T-24A, CCR, BGRR, and 81MM were restored by backfilling and contouring excavation areas to the surrounding grade, utilizing over 83,000 tons of fill and topsoil.

Project Highlights
Provided MEC construction support throughout the life of the project.
Excavated, stabilized, and disposed of over 175,000 tons of metals-contaminated soils in a 15-month period.
Restored impacted wetlands at BGRR and T-24A by backfilling the area with hydric soils and replanting the area with a mix of native trees and shrubs.
At BGRR, remediated 4,500 linear feet of Cane Creek by redirecting the creek, excavating contaminated sediments, restoring the creek by armoring steeper banks with riprap and grading, seeding the area, and installing turf reinforcement matting on more gradual slopes.