- What is it?
The IRP is a comprehensive program designed to address contamination from past activities and restore Army lands to useable conditions. It is one of two programs established under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) to identify, investigate and clean up hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants that pose environmental health and safety risks at active military installations and formerly used defense sites (FUDS). The IRP was established in 1975 and is achieving successful restoration of more than 11,000 identified active Army environmental cleanup sites. Restoration activities are already are response complete at more than 10,000 of those sites.
The U.S. Army Environmental Command is responsible for cleanup at active/operating installations under the IRP and the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), the other DERP program that was established in FY 2009. Response is expected to be completed at 95 percent of both IRP and MMRP sites by FY 2021.
IRP response actions (i.e., site identification, investigation, removal actions, remedial actions, or a combination of removal and remedial actions) to correct other environmental damage (such as the detection and disposal of unexploded ordnance) that poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare or to the environment, are conducted in accordance with the provisions of U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act of 1980, EOs 12580 and 13016, and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) (40 CFR Part 300).
- What has the Army done?
The Army measures cleanup progress at IRP sites, against two milestones: Remedy in Place (RIP), which occurs when cleanup systems are constructed and operational; and Response Complete (RC), which occurs when the site finishes cleanup activities (though the Army or a subsequent owner may continue to monitor the remedy). The IRP program has achieved RC at more than 10,000 of 11,088 sites. Army goals call for RC at 90 percent of all sites by FY 2018 and at 95 percent by FY2021.
The Army publishes Installation Action Plans (IAPs), which is the key planning document in the management and execution of installations with IRPs. The IAP outlines the total multi-year integrated, coordinated approach to achieving an installation’s cleanup goals. The plan is used by the USAEC, IMCOM, the National Guard Bureau (NGB), the Army Materiel Command (AMC), and other Army commands and installations and presents the approach an installation will use to clean up its sites. The IAP includes individual site descriptions and site status, chronological history of contamination studies, future-site cleanup requirements, site cleanup goals and schedules, past-current-future goals and schedules, and major issues that affect the installation’s cleanup program.
In addition, the Department of Defense annually submits a report to Congress (ARC) on its Defense Environmental Programs (DEP). The DEPARC describes the Department's accomplishments during the past year in its restoration, conservation, compliance, and pollution prevention programs by addressing 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 status of the Army’s IRP is included in the DOD’s report. The DEPARC 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.
- What does the Army have planned?
The Army will support existing RABs at those installations where there is sustained community interest or at sites where lands are being transferred to the community. The Army will support TAPP grants to help RAB members understand the technical documents on which they are asked to provide comments and input. The Army will continue to provide other opportunities for public participation and input into the decision-making process at its environmental restoration sites in accordance with the Community Information Plan and responses to community interviews on how members of the public wish to be informed about and involved in the restoration process.
- Why is this important?
The IRP restores Army lands to usable condition, freeing previously-restricted land for other uses, most importantly training our Soldiers. This program also protects human health and the environment on Army installations and in neighboring communities.
Another 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 also be tracked and reported. These costs are reported as Environmental Liabilities on the Army's various financial statements.
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