The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on civilian land is a growing domestic concern due to the increasing number of closed military bases. Since the end of the Cold War, approximately 20 percent of the land owned by the Department of Defense (DoD) has been slated for transfer to civilian uses under the congressionally mandated Base Realignment and Closure (BRAG) program. UXO is present on some portion of this land, but precisely how much is not known. Chemicals, such as explosives, that are components of military munitions also may be present in soils and groundwater.
Until recently, civilian encounters with UXO were limited because of the restrictions on access to military property. But as bases close and access restrictions lift, there is concern that UXO risks will increase, unless remediation or preventive measures are taken. Congress has signaled its interest in this issue by enacting legislation that requires the DoD to develop an inventory of UXO sites, a protocol for establishing response priorities among them, and other tools to advance the cleanup and stewardship of these sites.
This report critically evaluates and recommends improvements to methods for assessing the risks from UXO and munitions constituents at domestic closed, transferred, and transferring military installations. It also examines methods for ranking risks among UXO sites for programmatic priority setting. The report was prepared at the request of the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. At the time this study was initiated, the Army had the lead responsibility on behalf of DoD for developing risk assessment processes for UXO sites.