Challenge & Solution
As mandated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and supported by state environmental departments, the US military is now limited in the creation of new artillery practice ranges.
This situation poses a significant problem to Mission Sustainment for preparing/training of US troops and development/implementation of new weaponry. As a result, historic range rehabilitation has become a focal point for the military. Unfortunately, many of the historic ranges — used during the 1940s through 1950s — are unfit for use in their current states due to lack information regarding their prior usage.
Project Description & Highlights
Rhea was contracted by the federal government to perform range clearance for a historical area at a facility in Virginia. The site served as an historic loading and impact area during the 1940s and 1950s, with the adjacent range serving as an aircraft rocket range. Prior usage likely included recoilless rifle ammunition, aircraft rockets, mortars, artillery, rifle grenades and shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons.
With no known history of range clearance, it was assumed that sensitive unexploded ordnance (UXO) and materials potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH) existed in the area.
Rhea employed 19 UXO technicians, qualified per the Department of Defense Safety Explosive Board Technical Paper Number 18, and oversaw the surface clearance of the area. On-site activities included limited vegetation removal in order to access and effectively remove munitions debris (MD) and range debris (RD), clearance of said MD and RD, and blown in place events to effectively render MPPEH and other unsafe RD inert and safe to move.
Close coordination occurred with multiple parties, including Rhea and its government subcontractors. Rhea cleared over 420 acres for re-use and recycled roughly 90,000 pounds of ferrous material.
Rhea finished under budget and months ahead of schedule.