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Sandwich Notification Protocol

Report to the Community

Fact Sheet 2002-01

Sharing a border: MMR and the Town of Sandwich
The town of Sandwich shares a border with Camp Edwards at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) on Cape Cod. This area is collectively known as the Southeast Corner of the Ranges. Three of these ranges located within Camp Edwards and referred to as J-1, J-2 and J-3, were leased to defense contractors for weapons testing in the seventies and eighties; a fourth range, known as the L-range, was used by the military for training.

As a result of investigations in the Southeast Corner, Groundwater Study personnel began to identify and uncover significant numbers of unexploded ordnance, most of which were inert and were buried approximately 3 feet below ground surface.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is any military munition that has been prepared for action and fired, yet remain unexploded and constitutes a hazard. UXO consists of these same items after they are prepared for action, launched or otherwise fired, or remain unexploded either through malfunction or design.

Sandwich Notification Protocol Safety Zone

Sandwich Notification Protocol
Because of the potential dangers posed by UXO, Sandwich citizens and officials became concerned in 2000 about the discovery and disposition of UXO close to their border. The Forestdale School is approximately 700 feet from the border and the Grand Oaks neighborhood and the neighborhood encompassed by Greenville Road, run alongside the fenceline with MMR. When a particularly large UXO burial site was found and moved, Sandwich officials called in National Guard Bureau representatives and requested a plan that would ensure timely notification to officials and other appropriate parties. Together with the Environment Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Guard devised a strategy that would keep the town informed of actions involving UXO close to its border and ensures safety for Sandwich citizens.

After several meetings, an agreement was reached that requires the Guard's Groundwater Study Program to notify officials and/or school personnel when the fragmentation radius of a detected UXO falls within a "buffer zone" extending 500 feet from the Sandwich border into Camp Edwards. Called the "Sandwich Notification Protocol", this agreement has been strictly followed by the Groundwater Study Program since October of 2000.

If field technicians detect ordnance, they map out a potential "fragmentation radius" which conservatively estimates the furthest an exploded item may project. If the estimated radius falls within the agreed upon buffer zone, then the notification protocol is activated. It may require notifying the neighborhood, the school or both.


When an open detonation, called a "Blow-in-Place" event, is necessary and triggers the Sandwich Notification Protocol, extensive engineering controls are implemented to ensure all blast fragments are contained beneath the protective barrier.

Technicians managing the event use controls including 2 feet of sandbagging, placement of plywood sheathing and steel plate buffers.

Post blast, soil is collected and tested for any explosive residue. Contaminated soils if any, are removed and properly disposed of.

Program personnel are responsible for notifying the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, the Forestdale School Principal (if the discovery indicates), and the Town Administrator. If school notification is indicated, notices are prepared for all students to bring home that explain the nature of the discovery. There are no detonations or moving of munitions during school hours.

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