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News Release
February 13, 2002

Unexploded Munitions Detonation Scheduled at Camp Edwards

(Camp Edwards, MA) — An open detonation, or blow-in-place, of unexploded munitions, including three 81mm mortars and one fuze, will occur Friday, February 15, 2002, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at Camp Edwards on the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

The National Guard Bureau's Impact Area Groundwater Study Program also reported the discovery of a disposal area in the "J-1" Range containing 56 unfuzed 81mm mortars. Range safety measures have been instituted pending the investigation and safe removal of the disposal area items.

The items to be detonated are located in the "J-1" Range that borders the western edges of the Wind Song and Grand Oak Roads area. The maximum fragmentation radius of this blow-in-place falls within the area known as the "neighborhood safety buffer zone," in the Town of Sandwich. According to Christine Dolen, Senior Community Involvement Specialist for the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program at Camp Edwards, notices of this activity are being hand delivered to residents and sent to parents of school children in the affected area.

"The notification process is part of our ongoing effort to keep neighbors of the base informed of our activities with respect to the recovery and disposal of unexploded ordnance found near town boundaries," Dolen said. "Since this detonation is within the Sandwich buffer zone, our procedure also requires that detonations do not occur during school hours."

Safety controls will be established prior to the detonation to assure maximum public safety. An engineered structure consisting of plywood and sandbags will be built to contain the blast. With these controls in place, there is no risk to residents in the nearby area.

The munitions will be exploded in place as the Massachusetts Army National Guard specialists determined they cannot be safely transported or rendered safe in their present location.

Massachusetts Army National Guard contractors will be responsible for this detonation and for the subsequent sampling of the area's soil for residual explosive compounds. If any contamination is found, the soil will be removed and disposed of in accordance with applicable regulations.

Once the Army engineers make a final determination on the contents of the disposal area, plans will be made for their removal. Dolen said that residents would be informed if any special action is required for the safe disposal of these munitions.

The Impact Area Groundwater Study Program, led by the National Guard Bureau, has been working on an investigation and cleanup of the upper 15,000 acres at Camp Edwards since 1997. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection oversee the program. As part of an agreement with the Town of Sandwich, a procedure for neighborhood notification was established to keep residents fully informed of progress regarding the Groundwater Study Program's findings.

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For more information, contact:
Christine Dolen, Groundwater Study Program, (508) 968-5629
Todd Borci, EPA New England Region 1, (617) 918-1358 or (888) 372-7341 ext. 81358
Ellie Grillo, MADEP Community Involvement Coordinator, (508) 946-2866

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