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Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS)

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FUDS properties are located in nearly every state and a number of U.S. territories. If there is a FUDS property near you that has a Restoration Advisory Board, you may want to attend meetings or consider becoming a community member. These boards offer opportunities for community members to communicate their concerns on the direction and progress of cleanup at FUDS properties. Community members also can participate in workshops, open houses, public meetings, and public availability sessions near FUDS properties.

If you believe an area near you may have once been used by a defense agency and could be eligible for the FUDS Program, please contact the nearest Corps of Engineers District Office. Provide the location and any other information about the area, such as prior operations, ownership, dates of use, and who to contact about the property now. You may also access the FUDS Public GIS system which can be viewed regionally or searched by address to determine whether there is a FUDS property in your area.

Also, if you have information about past operations at an already identified FUDS property, please contact the nearest Corps office. If you would like more information about the FUDS Program, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Public Affairs Office at (202) 761-0010.
The Army is taking steps to address regulatory and community concerns more effectively and to conduct faster environmental cleanups at more properties. Helping to make this a reality is the FUDS Improvement Workgroup, comprised of representatives from DoD, states, and tribes, all working cooperatively to make the FUDS Program more effective.

One initiative has been developing statewide Management Action Plans (MAPs) for each state. Developing the MAP brings together the FUDS project managers, state and federal regulators, tribal governments, other interested property owners, and community members. The goal is to identify all FUDS cleanup activities within the state as well as the projected schedules and overall project funding requirements. The MAP includes detailed information for each active FUDS property in that state, as well as current status, future activities, prioritization, and budget work plans. A statewide MAP ensures that regulatory agencies and interested parties are involved with the Corps in setting priorities for FUDS projects within that state.

The Army and the Corps also have been partnering with citizens by establishing new Restoration Advisory Boards and participating in the FUDS Forum, an initiative co-sponsored by the Army and the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. The two-day workshops offer citizens an opportunity to discuss ways to improve cleanups at FUDS properties with Army and Corps officials.

Another initiative has been the development of a new interactive FUDS webpage. This webpage enables the public to readily access information about FUDS properties in their state, county, or neighborhood. It includes property information, a map, and a method for obtaining more information.

The FUDS Program uses a three-phased cleanup process consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 as amended and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan. 

  • PHASE I INVENTORY: Determine if the property was formerly used by DoD and if contamination is present that resulted from DoD activity. 
  • PHASE II INVENTORY: Conduct an investigation to determine the nature and extent of the contamination 
  • PHASE III INVENTORY: Clean up the property to reduce risk to human health and the environment and to improve public safety. 

Work is accomplished on a prioritized basis — the sites posing the highest risk are emphasized for clean-up first. Most projects take several years to complete, and each project is unique. The one constant, however, is that active communication, coordination, and consultation with regulatory agencies and communities are keys to the success of the FUDS Program. 

The Department of Defense is committed to protecting human health and the environment and improving public safety by cleaning up environmental contamination at former military properties.

Established by Congress in the mid-1980s, the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program cleans up properties formerly owned, leased, possessed, or used by the military services (Army, Navy, Air Force, or other Defense agencies). The Army is the DoD Executive Agent for FUDS, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for carrying out the program. Through the FUDS Program, the Army responds to DoD-generated pollution that occurred before the property transferred to private owners or to federal, state, tribal, or local government entities.

The scope and magnitude of the FUDS Program are significant, with more than 2,700 properties nationwide requiring cleanup and more than 2,200 projects in progress. Properties in the program can be located in industrial areas, residential developments, and public areas. Savannah District is responsible for FUDS properties in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The type of cleanup required varies from property to property. Within the FUDS Program, cleanup projects fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste sites
  • Correcting other environmental contamination such as that caused by ordnance and explosives

 

FUDS under the IR Program include Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste (HTRW) and Containerized HTRW (CON/HTRW) project categories. The IR program addresses the identification, investigation and remedial actions required to address releases of: 

  • Hazardous substances or pollutants and contaminants, as defined in CERCLA.
  • Petroleum, oil or lubricants (POL) may be addressed under the FUDS program where the release poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or welfare or the environment.
  • DoD unique materials
  • Hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents
  • Low-level radioactive materials or waste.

Properties are assessed to determine whether they are eligible for inclusion in the FUDS program then a preliminary assessment is completed to identify any hazards that may require under the FUDS program. Sites with HTRW concerns will be evaluated to quantify the level of risk the site poses to human health and the environment. This risk ranking will be used to prioritize HTRW sites for future action. The Army has set a goal for HTRW projects to be cleaned up to a lower relative risk category or to have remedial systems in place by FY 2020. 

The Army Environmental Cleanup Strategy provides a roadmap that guides the Army in attaining its environmental cleanup vision. The primary purpose of this strategy is to identify common objectives, thus creating consistency and accountability across the Army’s Cleanup Program. The strategy defines the Army’s cleanup vision, identifies uniform cleanup program objectives, describes the various Army cleanup program areas, provides a mission statement for each program area, and briefly describes cleanup resource and cleanup strategy management.

 

Throughout history, our ability to maintain a well-trained military force has required the use of military munitions in live-fire training and testing. This use has often resulted in the presence of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in areas currently or formerly used for military training purposes.

The Army has established a number of programs to address the full range of UXO issues, from detection to remediation to long-term monitoring. The DoD recognizes its responsibility to protect the public from the potential hazards associated with military operations, both past and present. This is particularly true with regard DoD's use of military munitions in training and testing.

To address munitions-related issues and the potential hazards munitions pose on property that the DoD once used, DoD developed the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). The MMRP is defined as identification, investigation, and remedial actions, or a combination of removal and remedial actions to address Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) or Munitions Constituents (MC). This may include the removal of foreign military munitions if it is incidental to the response addressing DoD military munitions at a FUDS property.

Once a property has been determined to be eligible for the FUDS program and munitions has been identified as a possible hazard on the property, an investigation will be initiated to assess whether a munitions hazard is present on the property. There are several technologies available to conduct this work. Advanced technology metal detectors are used to scan the property. If an item creates an image on the metal detector that appears to be a suspicious item, it will be flagged by the field team. A number of the items will be exposed during the investigation to compare the results from the metal detector to the item detected. If the item exposed is an ordnance item, the team will dispose of the item, usually by detonation.

               
                     Field Work                                Before Detonation                        After Detonation

Once the investigation is complete, the results will be assessed and areas requiring an ordnance removal action will be identified. The removal actions will be completed with the highest risk site first and continuing in order of risk. Removal actions are completed in similar fashion as the investigation except that the field team will cover 100% of the area identified to be of risk and dig 100% of the items identified by the advanced metal detector to be possible ordnance or ordnance material. Live items are disposed of by detonation; munitions debris is consolidated and removed from the property.

In an effort to enhance safety for contractors conducting work on MMRP sites and to increase data quality, thereby improving remedial action results, the Army actively assesses innovative technologies for completing the work on these sites. Robotic devices for completing the geophysical work have been developed and used very successfully. A robotic brush clearing device is currently under construction for use on FUDS sites, reducing the risk to the lead crew in situations where heavy brush hampers the geophysical. Other projects are under way for investigating underwater munitions sites.

 

If you encounter or believe you may have encountered a munition, you should consider it extremely dangerous. Note that munitions found in the field many years after original use may look rusted and degraded. This does not mean that the item is no longer dangerous. Several photos below show what ordnance might look like, however even small items can be dangerous. To protect family, friends and neighbors, everyone should learn and follow the 3Rs of explosives safety: Recognize, Retreat, Report.

  • Recognize – when you may have encountered a munition and the potential danger;
  • Retreat – do not touch, move or disturb it;
  • Report – notify local law enforcement about what you saw and where you saw it.

                      

         

                            Recognize, Retreat, Report! High school students talk UXO safety

Thanks to a partnership with Southeast High School in Bradenton, Fla., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District is helping kids spread the word about unexploded ordnance (UXO) safety. The school's video production class filmed, edited and produced a 12-minute newscast about the dangers of unexploded bombs or ammunitions found in the ground. The Corps provided funding for the video as part of its Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program, which manages the clean-up of munitions and UXO in areas that were once used by the Defense Department. Using the three "Rs"—Recognize, Retreat, Report—the video provides educational messaging that will be played all over the country as part of UXO training. Two Florida-based companies, GSL Solutions of Tampa and USA Environmental, Inc., of Oldsmar, were also key partners in this endeavor.

UXO Safety

Click the icon above to visit our UXO Safety Clubhouse website! Reaching children with safety information is especially important and a particular focus of our UXO safety program. The Savannah District has developed a new tool to provide UXO Safety information to children in a format that will hold their interest while teaching them how to stay safe in areas where they may encounter munitions.

Contact Us

FUDS Program Manager
Julie Hiscox
912-652-5363
Julie.A.Hiscox@usace.army.mil