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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 A historical summary of the site will be developed based on historical documents, information from maps, drawings and aerial photographs; interviews; and visual inspections of the site.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)/Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA): The RI is used to further investigate an area to determine the nature and extent of contamination present. An EE/CA, followed by a FS, is then performed to evaluate the site and its risk, identify and evaluate removal alternatives, and select a response action. The purpose of the EE/CA is to identify the most appropriate response action to address a munition risk at a project site. The recommended response alternative is based on the completion of a site characterization, risk assessment of munition hazards at the site, and evaluation of potential response alternatives.
  • Public Comment Period: Once site information has been gathered as outlined above, a public comment period is held during which the public is invited to comment on the alternatives identified, including the preferred alternative to address identified contamination. The agencies involved in the project then consider comments received and prepare a responsiveness summary.
  • Record of Decision (ROD): The ROD documents the agencies’ selected remedy 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 (TCRA)
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 preliminary assessment (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)
SI field activities, conducted in 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. Additionally, a digital mapping of the area below the ground surface to identify metallic items was completed in a chemical training area. Munitions and munition-related scrap materials were found. Two live munitions were found during the SI survey and were destroyed by Fort Carson Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel. Following to the SI field effort, recreational users found one live munition item and reported it to the Forest Service. Fort Carson Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel destroyed the item.

Five munition response areas (MRAs) were recommended for No Further Action (NFA) as a result of SI activities. Eight MRAs were recommended to proceed to a remedial investigation (click here to see a map of these areas). One MRA was subdivided; the northern portion was recommended for NFA since no evidence of military munitions related activities were observed. The southern portion was recommended to proceed to a remedial investigation. An Interim Risk Management Plan (IRMP) will be implemented for the MRAs recommended for remedial investigation, to minimize risks to the public and site workers until the final remedy is implemented at the MRAs. 

2011 Interim Risk Management Plan (IRMP)
An IRMP was developed, as recommended in the 2008 SI report, for the areas of Camp Hale needing additional remedial investigation. The IRMP contains a strategy to:

  • Inform users that historical military munitions are present in the area;
  • Instruct area users on what to do if they encounter a suspected military munition; and
  • Ensure that a formal munition response process is in place.

An IRMP was developed for the following areas:  Homestake Valley Range Complex, East Fork Valley Range Complex, Eagle Valley North Range Complex, Eagle Valley South Range Complex, Ruby Gulch Range Complex, Shrine Mountain Maneuver Area South, Yoder Gulch Range Complex, Tennessee Pass Range Complex, and Chemical Training Area.  Click here to see a map of these areas.

The IRMP includes the following: 

  • Background information – such as munitions information, land use, topography, nearby populations, previous investigations, etc.;
  • Interim risk management tools – such as land use controls, signage, public outreach/communication strategy, military munition emergency response training; and
  • Military munition response – protocols and follow-up activities after an item is disposed.

Interim risk management tools will be identified based upon the current use of the MRA and will be specific to each MRA.  These tools can include land use controls developed with the Forest Service and incorporated into current land management practices; signage placed at trailheads and road entrances within the Camp Hale project area to inform residents and visitors of the potential for military munitions in the area; development and distribution of public outreach and communication materials based on information obtained from various area users in order to best meet their informational needs.

2009 to Present Munitions Response Activities

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to conduct munitions response activities for portions of Camp Hale that include Homestake Valley Range Complex, Eagle Valley North Range Complex, Eagle Valley South Range Complex, Ruby Gulch Range Complex, and Tennessee Pass Range Complex. These are areas where past training activities using munitions have been confirmed.