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Munitions Response Activities

This page outlines the process the USACE follows while conducting Munitions Response Activities for FUDS projects.

An outline of the typical steps for munitions response activities is as follows:

  • Inventory Project Report (INPR): A review of a property is done to determine if it was formerly used by the Department of Defense (DoD) and, if contamination (such as historical military munitions) is present, determine that it resulted from DoD activity.
  • Preliminary Assessment of Eligibility (PAE): A preliminary assessment of a property or project is done to determine if the work can be completed under the FUDS program. This step confirms that a property meets the requirements of the FUDS program and has contamination.
  • Archive Search Report (ASR)/Preliminary Assessment (PA): This refers to investigation activities conducted to confirm the presence of military munitions at a site. The purpose of the ASR/PA is to merge the information collected during the PAE, with additional information collected about or from the site. A historical summary of the site will be developed based on historical documents, information from maps, drawings and aerial photographs; interviews; and visual inspections of the site.
  • Site Inspection (SI): A Site Inspection of a formerly used DoD property is conducted to determine if contamination related to a site poses a significant threat to human health and the environment. This assessment is made through a site investigation to identify areas used for past training activities that may have known or suspected munitions. Information collected is used to decide of a detailed investigation of the property is needed. A SI will also determine if an immediate response is needed. Data collected during this activity will be used  to prioritize the site for future cleanup activity.
  • Interim measures are activities done to address human safety and environmental concerns until a final remedy is identified for a site. At Camp Hale, an Interim Risk Management Plan was prepared to identify concerns in different areas of the project site and identify appropriate ways to alert area users to potential risks and how to be safe should they encounter a potential munition item.
  • Time-Critical Removal Action (TCRAs): A TCRA is the response to an immediate situation or threat of a situation that poses a risk to public health (serious injury or death) or the environment that cleanup or corrective activities must occur. Once the immediate threat at an area is taken care of through a TCRA, additional work that may be necessary is done through the process described below. TCRAs can be conducted at any point during a munitions response activity if it is determined that an immediate threat is presented to human health or the environment due to existing site conditions.
  • Remedial Investigation (RI)/Feasibility Study (FS): The RI is used to further investigate a site to determine the nature and extent of contamination present. An FS is then conducted to evaluate remedial alternatives and recommend the preferred remedial alternative to address the munition risk at a site. The recommended remedial alternative is based on a site characterization, risk assessment of munition hazards at the site, and evaluation of potential remedial alternatives.
  • Proposed Plan (PP): The preferred alternative for a site is presented to the public in a PP. The PP briefly summarizes the alternatives studied in the detailed analysis phase of the RI/FS, highlighting the key factors that led to identifying the preferred alternative.
  • Public Comment Period: A public comment period is a period of time during which the public is invited to comment on the remedial alternatives identified, including the preferred alternative. Following receipt of public comments and any final comments from the support agency, the lead agency selects and documents the remedy selection decision in a Decision Document.
  • Decision Document: Following receipt of public comments and any final comments from the support agencies, the lead agency selects and documents the remedy selection decision for a project area.
  • Remedial Design (RD): The purpose of the remedial design process is to describe the technical details of how the remedial action will be performed.
  • Remedial Action (RA): The remedial action is intended to permanently and comprehensively address both short and long-term health and safety hazards at munition-contaminated sites. 
  • Project Completion

Activities to Date

Site Visits
Investigation activities and site visits continue to be performed at various areas across the Camp Hale project area. These investigations are conducted to identify areas previously used for military training and needing further study to determine if any historical military munition hazards are present. Investigation activities include review of historical documents and information from past and present users of the site. Site visits to these areas then are conducted to determine the presence of military munitions. Additional information about activities discussed below can be found in the Administrative Record/Information Repository located at the Lake County Public Library.

Site visits were performed in August 2000, June 2001, July and September 2002, July 2003, July 2004, July through September 2005, July and August 2007, and summer 2009. During these visits, historical munition items were encountered and disposed of by Fort Carson Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel.

2001 Time-Critical Removal Action
A TCRA was performed in the summer of 2001 in and next to the East Fork valley to make sure there were no munition hazards along the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (Trail). The TCRA consisted of a surface sweep of the Trail and the East Fork Group Campground in the valley closure area. The sweep was conducted in June 2001 and covered approximately 67 acres. Evidence of 10 different types of munitions was found, and 2 items were destroyed by Fort Carson Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel.

2003 TCRA

A TCRA was performed during summer 2003 in the East Fork valley. This work consisted of a surface clearance of approximately 500 acres, located in the valley from about the Camp Hale Memorial Campground and extending east about 2.5 miles to the end of the valley. Munitions or munition-related scrap materials were found, and 24 live items were destroyed. This TCRA was completed in August 2003.

2007 Preliminary Assessment
A PA was performed in 2007. The PA effort compiled and evaluated information on Camp Hale related to site physical conditions, the possible presence of potentially explosive munitions, and future land uses and activities. Of the 85 areas of interest (AOIs) initially identified at Camp Hale, the PA confirmed munitions in 29 AOIs, and 35 AOIs were identified to potentially contain munitions. Chemical training was documented for two AOIs. Fifteen AOIs were determined to not contain any evidence of munitions and were recommended for No Further Action (NFA). This PA effort resulted in the creation of 14 munition response areas to be carried forward for the project. Munitions response areas refer to the grouping of AOIs where further evaluation is needed.

2008 Site Inspection
SI field activities, conducted July through August 2007, included site reconnaissance to look for evidence of military munitions and collection of environmental samples to determine if any munition-related contaminants were present.

A SI was completed at Camp Hale in 2008. As a result of conclusions reached in the SI, the overall project area being investigated decreased from approximately 200,000 acres (or about 312 square miles) to approximately 101,116 acres (or about 158 square miles). Following completion of the Camp Hale SI, RIs were conducted at each of the MRSs listed below due to the presence of munitions and explosives of concern:

  • East Fork Valley Range Complex;
  • Eagle Valley North Range Complex;
  • Eagle Valley South Range Complex;
  • Homestake Valley Range Complex;
  • Chemical Training Area;
  • Ruby Gulch Range Complex;
  • Yoder Gulch Range Complex; and,
  • Tennessee Pass Range Complex.

To view a map of the MRS locations click on the following link: RI MRS Location Map.

2011 to Present Munitions Response Activities

RI fieldwork was completed for all of the RI MRSs by October 2014. As of July 2015 Final RI Reports have been issued for four of the MRSs: Ruby Gulch Range Complex MRS, East Fork Valley Range Complex MRS, Eagle Valley South Range Complex MRS, and Tennessee Pass Range Complex MRS. The Final FS Reports have been issued for the Ruby Gulch MRS and East Fork Valley MRS, and the PP for East Fork Valley MRS is currently undergoing public review and comment. The remaining reports are in progress and will be issued in 2015 or 2016. To view the East Fork Valley MRS Final FS Report and PP click on the following link: Maps/Documents.