Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
Standardized UXO Technology
For more information, please contact the
Army Environmental Hotline
E-mail: Environmental Hotline
Phone: 800-USA-3845 (800-327-3845)
The U.S. Army Environmental Command (USAEC) is able to provide unexploded ordnance (UXO) technology methodology and information to help those in need of UXO technical support. Site managers, site environmental officers, local, state, and federal regulators, commercial firms, and private citizens may all benefit from these available technical services.
WHAT: Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) is defined as military munitions that have been:
- Primed, fused, armed or otherwise prepared for action
- Fired, dropped, launched, projected, or placed in such a manner to constitute a hazard to operations, installations, personnel, or material
- Remain unexploded either by malfunction, design, or any other case
It is important to know UXO:
- Come in many shapes and sizes. (Some will look new and others will look old and rusty. Some will look like bullets or bombs. Some will look like pointed metal pipes, soda cans, small balls, or even an old car muffler.)
- May be clearly visible; may be partially or completely hidden.
- May be easy or virtually impossible to recognize as a military munition.
UXO can be found:
- On top of the ground, or partially or completely buried in the ground or by vegetation, sand or snow.
- In or under high grass or bushes.
- Under water, in lakes or streams or, even, the ocean.
- UXO may look like a bullet or bomb, or be in many pieces. (Even small pieces of UXO can be dangerous.)
For decades, soldiers and weapons developers have gone to ranges and training areas to train with and test bombs, projectiles, grenades, and other munitions. A portion of these munitions did not function as designed, becoming what is known as unexploded ordnance (UXO). UXO has accumulated from these activities over the years at approximately 1,700 Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), 25 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) sites, and a number of active installations covering millions of acres. If disturbed, (touched, picked up, played with, kicked, thrown, etc) UXO may explode without warning, making it potentially hazardous at training sites and installations. The U.S. Army is committed to characterizing and remediating these sites to a condition consistent with their intended use.
HOW: Response Process
- EXPLOSIVE SAFETY
- Remember the 3 Rs - Recognize, Retreat, and Report
- Recognize when you have encountered a potential munition or think you may have encountered one and do not disturb it. Do not touch or move the item and retreat to a safe location far away from the object. Notify local law enforcement and report about what you saw and the location where you saw it.
- Emergency Response - used to address an actual or potential imminent threat to human health or the environment. Includes any immediate response activities by an explosives and munitions emergency response specialist to control, mitigate, or eliminate the actual or potential explosives threat to people or property. Within DoD, only DoD EOD personnel and in some cases, Technical Escort Unit (TEU) personnel will respond to military or civilian authority requests for support of an explosives or munitions emergency. The Military Munitions Rule exempts explosives or emergency munitions response specialists from compliance with RCRA during immediate responses to explosives or munitions emergencies.
- UXO Safety Education Program - this is a public service program run under the control of DoD dealing with explosive safety. The program was designed by the Army for DoD as a toolkit from which installations and the public could use individual tools to enhance or supplement local safety programs. The toolkit is available on the DoD DENIX web site (wwww.denix.osd.mil - search Environment, then UXO Safety Education Program) and consists of ready-to-use products and materials for home, community or classroom use. The following items are available in the toolkit:
Safety Submissions - The Safety Submissions ensure applicable DoD and DA explosive safety standards are applied during all phases of munitions actions. There are 4 types of safety submissions required:
- UXO educational material
- Glossary of terminology
- Activity books for children
- Tailorable, ready to use briefings and presentations
- Frequently asked questions about UXO
- A gallery of UXO photographs
Engineering Controls - these controls are used to mitigate the effects of unintentional or intentional detonation that may occur during responses. These may include:
- Explosive Safety Submission
- Explosive Site Plan
- Chemical Safety Submission (where appropriate)
- Chemical Weapons Site Plan (where appropriate)
TECHNOLOGIES FOR CLEAN-UP and RANGE SUSTAINABILITY
- Barricades designed to DoD standards
- Soil cover or sandbags (several computerized models available to determine thickness required)
- DDESB-approved ordnance demolition containers
- Portable Contained Detonation Chambers
- Anomaly Avoidance
- Geophysical Detection and Discrimination
- Geo-physical Prove-outs
- Standardized UXO Technology Demonstration Sites
The Standardized UXO Technology Demonstration Sites were established at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland, and Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), Arizona, by the Army EQT Program and the DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program/ Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (SERDP/ESTCP) in order to provide consistent and scientifically defensible UXO technology demonstration sites. These two sites evaluate current technologies under field conditions typically found on munition response sites.
The Active Response Site validates the UXO detection and discrimination technology demonstrations. This site enables technologies to be fully and consistently evaluated for capabilities and limitations.
The Standardized Sites have proven to be very beneficial to the UXO community. For example, the APG blind grid was used to give researchers a better understanding of how individual operators of UXO detection/discrimination systems can influence data collection. The EQT UXO Program studied both novice and expert operators trained in identical manners and compared their ability to operate a system as instructed. The Standardized Sites have also been used to demonstrate and validate other EQT UXO technologies such as the innovative dual-mode systems. Vehicular-towed and hand-held dual-mode systems were developed by the ERDC and corporate partners Geo-Centers, Inc., AETC, Inc., and G-tek Ltd., and combine the benefits of both magnetometry and electromagnetic induction. Dual-mode systems were developed during 2003-2005 and did not exist prior to the Army EQT UXO Program.
The Army EQT UXO Program has also advanced geophysical data processing and analysis approaches that enhance the user's ability to detect and discriminate buried UXO in a wide range of environmental and geophysical conditions. The rapid detection and discrimination of UXO from range clutter is expected to reduce the cost of UXO site remediation by approximately 75 percent versus conventional detect and excavate technologies.
WHO: Roles and Responsibilities
- U.S. Army is responsible for matters related to installations, real estate, military construction, and environment, safety and occupational health. They also provide environmental quality technology policy for sustainable ranges and is responsible for matters related to acquisition, logistics, technology, and procurement of weapons systems research, develo0pment, test and evaluation.
- USAEC - is a subordinate command of the Installation Management Command (IMCOM). USAEC supports the Army's environmental program and oversees the implementation of environmental program activities at installations and coordinates program activities and requirements through the assigned program coordinators with the IMCOM installations, Army Commands (ACOMs), the Army Materiel Command (AMC), National Guard Bureau (NGB), and the BRAC Division.
- ATC - Aberdeen Test Center provides test and test support services for authorized customers, within DoD and outside DoD, including government and non-government organizations, domestic and foreign. ATC provides comprehensive test and training both real and simulated; expert knowledge and technical services including instrumentation application, facility operations, manufacturing and fabrication; and develops leading edge instrumentation and test methodologies.
- AFRL (UXO Robotics) - The Air Force Research Laboratory is operated by the United States Air Force Materiel Command and is dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. The Laboratory is composed of 8 technical directorates, 1 wing, and the Office of Scientific Research. Each technical directorate emphasizes a particular area of research within the AFRL mission which it specializes in performing experiments in conjunction with universities and contractors.
USATCES - U.S. Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety develops explosive safety policy for real property known or suspected to contain Explosives, develops US Army explosive safety policies, procedures, and regulations that apply to munitions responsive, reviews US Army explosive safety documents for consistency with US Army Regulations, DoD policy and provides Army approval of required submissions.
- USACE EM CX - U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Center of Expertise provides environmental and munitions technical support to the ASACE Design Centers and Districts. The EM CX provides guidance and oversight, but generally does not execute project work. Execution is performed by authorized Design Centers and Remedial Action Districts throughout the USACE. Additionally, the EM CX prepares technical manuals and guidance documents related to munitions response and provides USACE technical experts in the UXO field.
Installations - are responsible for providing program execution of all range, training land, and installation real property ensuring environmental compliance and management requirements are mitigated, if possible, and do not restrict doctrinal training.