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News Release
January 18, 2002

National Guard Removing Buried Ordnance at MMR

(Camp Edwards, MA) — Personnel at the National Guard Bureau's Impact Area Groundwater Study Program are seeking to uncover and clean up former disposal areas and munitions burial sites in the southeast corner of the ranges at Massachusetts Military Reservation known as the J and L ranges. To locate these sites, the Guard is employing a range of tools, including aerial magnetometry (aerial scanning for metal beneath the ground surface), archival photographs, oral history reports from people who worked or lived at MMR, and ground based geophysics. While conducting its comprehensive searches, the Guard has uncovered several sites during the past several weeks, and additional sites are expected to be uncovered in the near future.

Several disposal areas have been uncovered at the J-1 and J-2 ranges. A variety of materials, including propellant, inert munitions and burn residues were encountered during the recent investigations. The uncovered items included 40 mm grenades, 81 mm inert mortars, 105 mm inert practice rounds, 105 mm cartridge cases and other miscellaneous items. These items were primarily inert and judged to be remnants of former contractor and military use of the ranges. Over 500 items, classified as inert, have been removed from these sites and placed in secure storage for appropriate disposal.

Three items from these sites required special handling due to the presence of propellant residue or live fuzes. These items have been placed in secure storage and will be destroyed in the Contained Detonation Chamber (CDC) on base. The CDC allows safe disposal of items containing propellants and high explosives.

All burn residues and stained soils were sampled in accordance with protocols set up by the National Guard Bureau and overseen by regulators from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP)

The Impact Area Groundwater Study Program will continue its program to seek and remove disposal sites and buried munitions as a means to protect the groundwater beneath the ranges.

In the coming weeks, investigation at other sites within the southeast corner of the ranges will continue. If munitions are uncovered, range safety measures will be immediately instituted. The town of Sandwich is notified if any of the upcoming site work impacts the agreed upon "Sandwich Notification Protocol". Groundwater Study personnel work closely with Sandwich and other town officials to ensure bordering towns are fully informed of base activities near their communities.

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For more information, contact:
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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