2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 10:52:31 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] UXO Access Controls
from "Wright, Dick - AEPI" <dWright@aepi.army.mil>

There has been considerable traffic on fences and unexploded ordnance
(UXO) sites over the last three weeks on CPEO.  From my perspective, it 
would help to ensure focus remains on objective(s) not methods.  The
real issue is reducing (no way to prevent) access to UXO sites until a
cleanup has been conducted and not solely what type of fence is

Fences in all sizes and of all types are used in any number of instances
with one principal function --- prevent an inadvertent intrusion into an
area where for whatever the stated reason you do not desire trespass. 
You may argue that they were put to keep people out but, unless the
fence is backed by a positive response (i.e., security forces or dogs)
any fence can be breached only the effort required to compromise the
fence may vary.

As an example, my homeowner's association requires a fence around my
property if I want to install a pool or hot tub.  I have a choice of two
styles although each is a three foot high wood picket design.  Will
either of these keep neighbors off my lawn and prevent entry into pool
or hot tub? Barbed wire would clearly deter much better thus limiting my
liability and prevent inadvertent drowning.  The association
architectural committee choose a decorative style knowing that fences
only deter, that homeowners will call police when fences are crossed,
that children (and others) are taught from an early age to respect
others property and that behind the respect message is the theme that
something bad may happen in an unsupervised environment around a pool or
hot tub.  Making a conscious decision to climb over the fence denotes
acceptance of the consequences (although age (maturity) does factor into
acceptance) of the act.  Education and social responsibility were part
of the architectural board's consideration process in deciding fences
were required.  Of course, I could choose not to have a pool or hot tub
but I actually looked at risk (safety and liability) versus reward

I realize that my analogy may be simplistic, is not about UXO or other
potential public environmental health risks and that many do not like
the concept of comparative risk.  There is no effective way to  compare
deaths from drowning in backyard pools vice deaths to UXO.  They are
unique distinct events  But far more people die in pools than on impact
areas with little public (local or national) outcry for higher, more
substantial fencing --- and I suspect there are no studies to show
effectiveness of three/six foot cyclone fence over three/six foot wooden
fences to prevent accidental drowning.

Where am I trying to go with this?  Access (risk) reduction or
prevention can best be accomplished using complimentary and overlapping
preventative/protection measures.  These measures may include fences,
education, enforcement and immediate yet limited removal actions.  They
need to be developed and integrated into the overall UXO cleanup plan. 
None of these can eliminate risk entirely but in combination, tailored
to a site specific risk assessment and the risk management plan
resulting from the assessment, there is a greater likelihood of
preventing injury or death. Any assumption made that a single individual
measure (less complete UXO remediation) would work is simply false.  I
also highlighted site specific as any and every discussion starts with
each community arguing that there is something unique about their area
of concern therefore one fence does not fit all.

A site specific approach requires that all risks and all alternatives be
explored, evaluated and then implemented in the most efficient manner. 
This must be completed early.  The risk analysis phase must include a
realistic determination of just who will be deterred and who will
trespass regardless of preventative measures or personal risk. You
cannot keep everyone out.  I note that recent e-mails have made
references to trespass on ranges for pointing out problems to the Army
and regulators as well as picking up souvenirs or scrap for use and/or
sale.  In each instance, the trespasser(s) knew the personnel risks and
blatantly disregarded signs, fences and personal knowledge of the
hazards.  They risked bodily harm to themselves and anyone charged to
respond to an injury (or worse) caused by their willingness to trespass
(could be due to a snakebite or fall not just an UXO).  You must also
look at  what is the hazard (small, easily collected, sensitive fuzing,
large quantities, etc.) and the ease of access to the hazard. The
process may determine that certain areas require a six foot fence, more
signage and patrolling but the entire site does not.  Site specific does
not rule out different solutions to special situations (i.e.,
immediately conduct a surface clearance on a 40mm grenade range but
other impact areas can be fenced with signs and patrolled pending a more
vigorous remedial action) but rather dictates finding the correct access
control measure.

Targeted educational programs backed by locally promulgated laws
enforceable by local police or regulatory agencies can be most effective
when employed in conjunction with enforcement by military security and
boundary fences. The education programs need to be tailored to the
audience with consideration given to age (young children vice older
children or adults), culture, proximity to risk, degree of risk.  You
also must consider frequency of classes and who may be most effective
instructors (military to public safety personnel and others to
schools).  The educational program must include a full range of media
using papers, flyers, TV, radio on a frequent and recurring basis.  This
means local political and public leadership as the Army cannot direct or
force any educational program on any community outside an installations

Now to where the discussion started ---fences.  Fences provide physical,
physiological and cultural boundaries and thus should be selected using
all those criteria.  Who will trespass and why?  Who can we
realistically prevent from trespassing?  Can we enforce when fences are
breached? Is there any evidence that a certain fence either encourages
or discourages trespass? Does a higher, more substantial fence impede
the process of removing the UXO?  Does anyone know of any studies where
fences have been evaluated for access denial (inquisitive intrusion)
vice security (high value target)? Are there any facts/studies that
could help determine answers?

The initial questions aside, maybe there is need for a "default" table
similar to what the DoD Explosives Safety Board has provided for
planning purposes on determining initial UXO clearance depths.  A
"default" approach could be used as an initial start point with actual
fence type being selected as part of the access control measures.  For
example, a 40 mm grenade range near a high public use with easy access
might require a six foot cyclone fence with three strand barbed wire
whereas a remote artillery impact range might only require a single
strand barbed wire fence.   Again, any final (love Regis) answer must be
site specific, addressing both the degree of hazard and the degree
access must be restricted.  And there must be the flexibility in any
decision matrix that considers either building or moving fences as site
conditions change (housing built nearby, removal actions completed,

I believe that there is no single solution.  The public has a clear and
undeniable right to expect, no demand, a reasonable level of protection
from a risk not of their choosing (inadvertent as UXO do not migrate as
ground water).  However, the public (individual and collective) also
bears a social responsibility to do everything both individually and
collectively to protect the unknowing or the unwilling.  Recently, a
young boy went to a Seattle Mariners baseball game.  He was in the front
row near the dugout when he was hit in the head by a foul ball.  His
mother remarked that she was concerned about her son's attending the
game based on where he was seated but permitted him to go anyway.  Now
she has sued the Mariners for both damages and to put up a three foot
Plexiglas window all along the railing in front of the seats.  Who is at
fault and who pays?  Was there a reasonable expectation that a foul ball
would not enter the stands?  Did she not know that the closer you sit to
home plate the faster the ball flies and the less time there is to
react?  Were the Mariners negligent?  Do all of us who like sitting
close at baseball games want her proposed remedy?  

I am very interested in any and all input that could assist in
developing access control standards or protocols for use at locations
where UXO cleanups must be accomplished (closed, transferred and
transferring ranges). 


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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