2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 24 Jan 2003 18:17:34 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Digging deep to clear hidden refuge danger
Digging deep to clear hidden refuge danger
Explosives: Environmental engineers use high technology to probe beneath
the surface of Patuxent Research Refuge for live ordnance.

By Rona Kobell
Sun Staff
Originally published January 24, 2003

For more than a decade, thousands of hunters and hikers have flocked to
the Patuxent Research Refuge's North Tract near Laurel in search of the
white-tailed deer, warblers and bald eagles that call the 8,100-acre
preserve home.

Some of those visitors have found decidedly unnatural creations, too:
grenades, mortar shells and rockets that date to when the refuge was a
munitions training ground for war-bound soldiers at Fort Meade.

This month, the Army and the Department of the Interior began overseeing
the laborious process of finding and clearing ordnance from the North
Tract's most-used areas.

Using a sophisticated magnetometer attached to an all-terrain vehicle
with a global-positioning system, environmental engineers with New
Jersey-based Foster Wheeler Corp. are working to identify potential
explosives in about 300 acres in a way that protects habitats and
promotes safety.

"Anything that's down there that needs to be removed, we can remove,"
said Timothy Reese, project manager for Foster Wheeler, who expects the
removal process will begin in March.

The most recent cleanup occurs 12 years after Congress transferred the
North Tract from the Army to the Department of the Interior, a move that
tripled the wildlife refuge's size and preserved a large tract of
forestland in fast-developing western Anne Arundel County.

"The transition of the property happened quickly in 1991, and we had no
assumptions of what the land use would be," said Kimberly Gross, Fort
Meade's coordinator for the Base Realignment and Closure Act at the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore.

"We did a surface sweep over the entire area way back, but now we're
focusing on the land-use data so we can go a little deeper."

Using a device called a Towed Array that looks like a gondola attached
to farm equipment, engineers are driving five magnetometers across the
tract to log the magnetic features of the earth and transfer the data to
a laptop computer.

_From a computer in his trailer, geophysicist Bill Everham can view all
the metal "hits" in bright pink.

When he finishes the land survey at the end of next month, he will send
the data to a colleague in Colorado, who will determine which of the
hits are likely to be ordnance.

Then, Foster Wheeler's engineers will go back into the refuge and plant
flags to mark the possible explosives.

Foster Wheeler's $2 million contract with the Corps of Engineers also
includes clearing 22 acres of scrub pines with an unmanned machine
workers have nicknamed ARTS (All-purpose Remote Transport System).

To view this article, copy and paste the following URL into your

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Hundreds question toxic risk
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Agent Orange And a Cancer Are Linked, a Study Shows
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] JP-8 Assessment Available
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Agent Orange And a Cancer Are Linked, a Study Shows

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index