Army Cleanup Program

What is it?

The Army Cleanup Program is the common term for the Army’s Environmental Restoration Program for active installations.  It is managed by the U.S. Army Environmental Command and its mission is to return Army lands to usable condition and protect human health and the environment by performing appropriate, cost-effective cleanup of contamination resulting from past practices. It is part of the Department of Defense’s Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP).


The DERP was established in 1986 to address hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants and military munitions remaining from past activities at active military installations and formerly used defense sites (FUDS). The DERP, funded by the central Defense Environmental Restoration Account (DERA), provides for cleanup at these sites. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) environmental restoration program, funded by the base closure accounts, covers cleanup at closing installations.


The Army Cleanup Program conducts its investigations and remediation activities in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986; the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste (HSWA) of 1984; and as stipulated in the guidance that interprets the Superfund legislation: the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). These regulations require identification, investigation and cleanup of sites contaminated by past releases of hazardous substances. Sites requiring cleanup under these regulations are eligible for DERP funding.


The Army has two active-installation restoration programs funded under DERP.  These are the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). The comprehensive IRP identifies, investigates and cleans up hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants at active Army installations that pose environmental health and safety risks. Army Cleanup under IRP began in 1975 and the MMRP was established in 2001. In FY 2009, DoD updated the DERP eligibility criteria to include certain releases previously addressed under the Compliance Program, such as corrective action under RCRA.


The Army also has a Compliance Cleanup program that is funded out of Operations and Maintenance, Army (OMA) funds.  This program addresses closure and post-closure care of permitted units (e.g., landfills, open burning/open detonation areas) and overseas cleanup. 

What has the Army done?

Since the mid 1970s, the IRP has investigated and completed remedial actions at 87 percent of the more than 10,000 potential contamination sites identified on Army installations. The MMRP addresses non-operational range lands suspected to or known to contain unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions (DMM) or munitions constituent (MC) contamination. The MMRP allows effective Army response to UXO and military munitions waste at areas other than operational ranges. Approximately half of the 1,429 MMRP sites are at Response Complete (RC).


The Army splits responsibility for managing the funds and cleanup work at its sites between three organizations. AEC is responsible for cleanup at active/operating installations.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the Army’s Environmental Restoration Program for FUDS.  The BRAC Division (BRACD) within the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ASCIM) is the program manager for the Army BRAC Environmental Restoration Program.


In April 2003, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment, directed that environmental restoration and compliance-related cleanup be unified under a single Army Environmental Cleanup Strategy. The Army Environmental Cleanup Strategy integrates the DERP for active installations, BRAC, FUDS, overseas remediation, and the compliance cleanup program.


The purpose of this consolidation was to optimize program efficiency, accountability, and consistency by applying common objectives and requirements to all cleanups associated with past and current Army operations in support of installations. The Army measures cleanup progress at IRP sites and munitions response sites (MRSs), against two milestones: Remedy in Place (RIP), which occurs when cleanup systems are constructed and operational; and RC, which occurs when the site finishes cleanup activities (though the Army or a subsequent owner may continue to monitor the remedy).


Each year, DoD submits an Annual Report to Congress (ARC) on its Defense Environmental Programs describing the Department's restoration, conservation, compliance, and pollution prevention program accomplishments for the past year.  It shows the current status of the cleanup program including the sites still awaiting cleanup (Total Site Inventory), as well as the number and percentage of sites reaching RIP and RC. In addition the report addresses plans and funding needs for protecting human health, sustaining the resources DoD holds in the public trust, meeting its environmental requirements, and supporting the military mission. The Report also details DoD's efforts for reinforcing environmental programs to ensure the safe and effective use, protection, restoration, and preservation of the Department's natural and cultural assets; and examines DoD's environmental restoration activities at sites on its active installations and former BRAC properties.  The Army’s information is included in the DOD’s report. 

What does the Army have planned?

The Army is continuing to work through the investigation and cleanup phases and achieve RIP/RC at identified cleanup sites. The Army’s goal is to have 90 percent of IRP and MMRP sites in the RC phase by FY 2018 and 95 percent RC by FY 2021.  However, achieving the RIP/RC milestone at the remaining sites will take longer because cleanup is more complex and requires more time, regulatory involvement, and financial resources.


Each year, the Army publishes a Program Management Plan which documents the cleanup program’s goals for the following fiscal year.  The Army also publishes Installation Action Plans (IAPs), which are management documents presenting the approach each of the installations will use to clean up its sites.  The IAP includes overall contamination assessments with a chronological history of contamination studies, and individual site descriptions, including current site status.  The plans provide future-site cleanup requirements, site cleanup goals and schedules, and major issues that affect the installation’s cleanup program.

Why is this important?

The IRP and MMRP restore Army lands to usable condition, freeing previously-restricted land for other uses, most importantly training our Soldiers.  These programs also protect human health and the environment on Army installations and in neighboring communities.


An important aspect of the Army Cleanup Program is tracking and reporting costs associated with environmental restoration, corrective actions, and response actions. Additionally, costs associated with environmental activities related to facility closures or activity terminations must be tracked and reported. These costs are reported as Environmental Liabilities on the Army's various financial statements.




















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