2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 13 Jun 2002 19:46:44 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] EPA Completes Removal of Ordnance in Area of Washington Towns

FOR RELEASE: Thursday, June 13, 2002

(#020060)  NEW YORK, N.Y.  -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) has completed the removal and disposal of the buried bombs, fuzes 
and related material from World War II it uncovered at the 70-acre 
Washington Township Ordnance site in Little Valley, Morris County, New 
Jersey.  The site, near the intersection of Fairmount Road and Parker 
Road, was operated by United Wallpaper Factories Incorporated for the 
manufacture of incendiary bombs during World War II.  Unused and/or 
discarded ordnance and associated
materials were buried at the site and several hundred burned bomb 
canisters and fuzes have been found there over the years.

"The potential for finding live, unexploded bombs and/or fuzes triggered 
our action to protect public health and safety," EPA Regional 
Administrator Jane M. Kenny stated.  "We found and disposed of more 
ordnance than we suspected was there."

Fort Monmouth ordnance experts and the US Army Corps of Engineers 
personnel visually inspected the site in the summer of 2000, in response 
to a request from Morris County Emergency Services, and did not find 
ordnance that contained explosives.  The New Jersey Department of 
Environmental Protection (NJDEP) alerted EPA, which investigated the 
site in 2000 using geophysical techniques to survey the area for metal 
anomalies related to ordnance items.  EPA began the cleanup of the site 
late last year under its federal Superfund authority. During its 
operations, EPA restricted public access to the site, which was 
frequented by hunters, hikers, dirt-bike riders and equestrians.

EPA worked closely with local authorities throughout the investigation 
and cleanup effort.  "We thank everyone involved for their support and 
assistance.  We also appreciate the cooperation of local residents and 
officials during this very successful operation," Ms. Kenny said.  The 
project cost a total of $1.8 million, which was
financed by the federal Superfund Trust.

The site consists of an active chemical manufacturer, a residence, and 
undeveloped land.  Discarded ordnance was identified at all three 
properties; however, the greatest concentration of ordnance was in 
remote locations on the parcel of undeveloped land, mostly open fields 
and woodlands.

EPA utilized the services of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) specialists to 
address the buried ordnance at the site. The work included identifying, 
removing, and disposing of any ordnance-type material.  EPA divided the 
site into a number of grids, each measuring exactly 100' X 100'.  The 
surface of each grid was inspected and then
specialized equipment was used to identify where the ordnance materials 
were buried.  UXO specialists manually excavated areas suspected of 
containing buried ordnance.  Trenches and burial pits containing a large 
quantity of ordnance items were discovered in the wooded undeveloped 
area of the site.  Soil was excavated
from these trenches and pits and screened to recover fuzes and bombs.  
Any ordnance material discovered on the surface or buried below was 
removed and secured on-site for detonation and/or disposal.

The specialty firm detonated any UXO on the site property rather than 
attempt to remove live shells.  Access to the site was carefully 
controlled and the detonations were performed under very secure 
conditions.  Stringent health and safety protocols were in place to 
eliminate any health and safety issues for the specialists posed by
the ordnance.  Inert ordnance materials were recycled as ordnance 
related scrap at appropriate off-site facilities.

The total number of ordnance items recovered included: 22,766 empty M-69 
bomb casings, over 650,000 inert fuzes, 4 inert M-2 rockets, 267 live 
M-69 bombs, 99 M-50 live bombs, 730 live fuzes and 31 M-1 fuze primers. 
All of the live ordnance found, a total of 1,127 UXO items, were 
destroyed in a series of 19 detonations. Following the removal of 
ordnance material, the area was reevaluated to ensure that a major 
threat to the public health and safety has been addressed.  All areas 
disturbed during the investigation and cleanup work were restored.

EPA is advising the owners to use caution during any excavation activity 
at their properties in the event that some small amounts of ordnance may 
remain at the site.

The NJDEP is conducting its own investigation of the site to address 
soil and ground water contamination from several chemical and industrial 
facilities that operated there after bomb manufacturing stopped at the 
end of WWII.


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