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News Release
March 13, 2002

Camp Edwards Clean Up Requires Unexploded Munitions Detonation

(Camp Edwards, MA) — As part of its ongoing clean up of the Southeast Ranges of Camp Edwards on the Massachusetts Military Reservation, the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program will conduct open or "blow-in-place" detonations of unexploded munitions Saturday, March 16, 2002, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The items being detonated include 114 81-mm mortars, which will be consolidated into four groups.

Hand-delivered notices regarding the detonations are being distributed today to residents on the western edges of Wind Song and Grand Oak Roads, which fall in the Town of Sandwich "neighborhood safety buffer zone." Safety controls, including an engineered blast-containment structure, are being used to ensure there is no risk to residents of the nearby area.

The Groundwater Study Program has conducted a number of blow-in-place detonations in recent weeks due to a large number of munitions being found during the investigation of the "J-1" training range. Historically, this area was used as a defense- contractor test range. Past activities at this and two other contractor-operated ranges resulted in ordnance being disposed of on and below the ground surface.

"So far we've located more than 2,500 rounds of unexploded ordnance in this range alone," said Ben Gregson, Program Manager for the Groundwater Study Program. "This activity removes a safety hazard and eliminates the potential of these items having any further impact on the soil and groundwater. That is extremely important since this area abuts a residential area and is at the top of the groundwater mound of the Sagamore Lens, the Cape's sole source aquifer."

Gregson says that open detonations are only conducted when absolutely necessary. Whenever possible munitions known to be inert are recycled and unexploded ordnance that is safe to move is destroyed in a Contained Detonation Chamber. Massachusetts Army National Guard contractors have determined that these items found in burial pits cannot be safely moved, so they will blow them in place.

Massachusetts Army National Guard contractors also will be responsible for the subsequent sampling of the area's soil for residual explosive and other 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.

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, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Community Involvement Coordinator, (508) 946-2866

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