Munition cleanup at SIAD continues
Three presentations were given to the board members and those in attendance, outlining past, present and future efforts to inspect and clean up contaminated sites at the former Honey Lake Demolition Range.
The Engineering Evaluation/ Cost Analysis presentation given by Michael Erickson outlined the initial field investigations conducted to determine risks to public safety.
The investigations included both an airborne and a land-based geophysical survey. The airborne survey, performed by Oak Ridge National Laboratories, surveyed more than 3,500 acres of the area, while the land-based survey covered 72.5 linear miles, to determine the lateral extent of the demolition range.
The next step involved what Erickson referred to as a Time Critical Removal Action which is essentially a sweep and clear of any visible munitions on the surface of the site.
The TCRA, performed by American Technologies, Inc., cleared an area of 2,600 acres and recovered 53,200 munitions and explosives of concern and more than 250 tons of munitions debris, according to the presentation.
The next step in the EE/CA was intrusive investigations, which means that crews went out and manually excavated areas that were highlighted during the airborne geophysical survey.
While no unexploded ordnance was recovered, 245 improperly discarded military munitions were recovered, along with more than 11 tons of MD.
The final step of the field investigations was the soil sampling, which concluded there was no risk from munitions constituents or metals in the soils sampled.
The conclusion of the presentation highlighted how the EE/CA perceived the risk for the dry lakebed as low, citing examples such as no new unexploded ordnance recovered, no new land uses and no use by the public.
Erickson also said the Army now has some institutional controls in place based on the recommendations of the EE/CA. These controls include the installation of two bilingual display cases with informational packets at the edges of the site, community awareness briefings at future RAB meetings and the notification of nearby landowners.
One board member was concerned about the lack of a physical enforcement presence around the site, wondering if the bilingual display cases and community awareness would be enough to keep people away. Erickson responded by saying there hasn’t been any kind of incident in more than 50 years.
The current climate has made it unclear when any remedial action to continue the lake cleanup will be taken. As the winter months recede, measures to continue the cleanup process will be taken as weather conditions improve and as funding becomes available, according to the report.
The debris and munitions the engineering crews have been cleaning up were a result of open burning and bomb detonation conducted during the 1940s and ‘50s, when the site was better known as the Honey Lake Demolition Range.
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