The DoD’s testing and training ranges are critical assets for the military. Maintaining these ranges is essential to enable troops to train in realistic circumstances at appropriate scales and to develop and test new weapons systems. Testing and training require the firing of live ammunition, which can result in contamination of the ranges by toxic metals and munitions constituents, the energetic chemicals that power the munitions. If these chemicals are transported to the groundwater and migrate off base, live-fire training and testing activities may be curtailed. It is DoD policy to conduct an operational range assessment program to determine if and where such releases may occur and to prevent them.
Testing and training ranges present unique challenges for characterization, control, and treatment technologies. The ranges often encompass thousands of acres, have limited historical records, and are subject to continued use. SERDP and ESTCP investments have included identifying and characterizing contamination sources, as well as understanding the fate and transport of both legacy and new insensitive munitions constituents. Projects have built on this scientific basis to develop and demonstrate technologies that allow for continued operations while preventing migration of contaminants to groundwater.