ESTCP worked alongside the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) to develop the recently published web-based Geophysical Classification for Munitions Response (GCMR) Guidance Document. ITRC developed this guidance document to explain the overall process of geophysical classification, highlight benefits and constraints of the technology, and aid regulators in monitoring and evaluation of this new technology for munitions response efforts. The document emphasizes the use of a systematic planning process at the beginning of a munitions response effort as well as quality considerations throughout the project. The document highlights key requirements and guidelines for developing a project-specific Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for geophysical classification projects contained in the recently developed draft GCMR-QAPP.

The advanced classification technologies presented in the ITRC GCMR Guidance Document were developed and demonstrated through successful SERDP and ESTCP efforts. ESTCP initiated the Classification Pilot Program in 2007 and has conducted demonstrations to validate these technologies at over 20 real munitions response sites under operational conditions. Based on the success of the Pilot Program, these technologies are now transitioning into operational use for munitions response efforts.

For many sites, geophysical classification provides a significant economic advantage over traditional methods. Thousands of former DoD range and munitions operating facilities will require munitions response remediation at a cost of $14 billion. Traditional munitions response techniques are cost-intensive because they require excavation of most detected buried objects and their subsequent identification as munitions or nonhazardous debris. At typical sites, the majority of items recovered are indentified as debris. Advanced methods of munitions classification developed by SERDP and ESTCP involve multi-axis geophysical sensors along with analysis techniques to identify and classify buried objects prior to excavation to identify those that are potentially hazardous and those that can be safely left in the ground.  Geophysical classification results in more efficient and cost-effective munitions response efforts.

In November 2015, ITRC will be hosting an internet-based training course on geophysical classification techniques and present highlights from the guidance document. If interested in further information, please explore the ITRC website.