As the Department of Defense moves toward the adoption of geophysical classification for munitions response to accelerate cleanup, communities involved in UXO investigations need to be confident in the approach’s effectiveness. In November 2012, ESTCP convened a stakeholders’ forum on the use of geophysical classification for munitions response. Chaired by Lenny Siegel of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, the forum was attended by ten geographically representative stakeholders from some of the nation’s best known former range sites who met to discuss the emerging technique.
Geophysical classification using instruments such as MetalMapper and TEMTADS provides multi-dimensional electromagnetic data, which allows investigators to reliably distinguish between unexploded ordnance and scrap metal and target only ordnance for digging. Ongoing ESTCP demonstrations at production sites suggest that classification can cut the total cost of a munitions response project by half or more. When classification is more widely used, there will be other advantages, including less environmental damage and fewer evacuations of residents.
The stakeholders’ forum provided the community representatives an opportunity to learn more about geophysical classification and provide feedback on its use. A summary of the need for improved methods as well as a development history was provided by Dr. Herb Nelson, Program Manager for Munitions Response at ESTCP, followed by a group discussion, facilitated by Mr. Siegel. Overall, participants were very receptive to the new technologies and raised important points about potential implementation issues to consider, such as the need for individuals conducting analyses to be certified and for independent validation of the results.
For the meeting report, visit http://www.cpeo.org/pubs/StakeholdersMRForum.pdf.