Munitions Detonation Scheduled at Camp Edwards
(Camp Edwards, MA) — The Impact Area Groundwater Study Program announced it will conduct an open detonation, or blow-in-place, of unexploded munitions, including three 105 mm projectiles and two 81 mm mortars, on Friday, February 22, 2002, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The detonation will be on the "J-1" Range located on the Southeast corner of Camp Edwards on the Massachusetts Military Reservation.
Since the maximum fragmentation radius of the blow-in-place falls within the Town of Sandwich "neighborhood safety buffer zone" notices of the detonation were hand delivered today to residents in the affected areas on the western edges of Wind Song and Grand Oak Roads. Three other items, which do not affect the neighborhood safety buffer zone, also will be detonated Friday in the Central Impact Area.
According to Ben Gregson, Program Manager for the Groundwater Study Program, investigative work is continuing in several areas of the J-1 Range where site surveys have produced electromagnetic anomalies. "This has been an extremely productive area for us in terms of finding burial pits, " Gregson explained. " It is possible that we will find some additional items that will require blow-in-place detonations before the end of the week. If so, we will include them in this detonation to take advantage of the extra safety factor of students being out of class for School Vacation Week."
Gregson said that the Army engineers have determined that the projectiles cannot be safely moved, we are taking every precaution to ensure there is no risk to residents of the nearby area."
Safety controls including an engineered structure consisting of plywood and sandbags will be built to contain the blast. Gregson explained that prior to a detonation of a suspected explosive, Massachusetts Army National Guard contractors build a containment area consisting of approximately 24 inches of sandbags is built around the munitions. It is then covered with plywood and another 24 inches of sandbags are put on top of it. If the items are inert, the neighbors usually won't even hear the blast. In the case of an explosive item, they would hear a blast and might feel a slight tremble, but the explosion would be contained at the site.
Massachusetts Army National Guard contractors also will be responsible 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.
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, at all points, of progress regarding the Groundwater Study Program's findings.
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