Changes to terminology for Army’s Munitions Cleanup Program
In 2003, the Army began implementing new terminology nationwide to describe its ordnance cleanup program. Numerous written materials relating to the munitions cleanup program at the former Fort Ord, such as Administrative Record documents, fact sheets, meeting minutes, and pages within this website that were created prior to 2004 include the old terminology. The new terminology is being incorporated into newly written materials as they become available.
From 1917 until the inactivation of the 7th Infantry Division in 1994, Fort Ord was primarily a training and staging facility for the infantry. Many areas of the base had been used for ordnance training.
The Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board develops explosives safety standards for the Department of Defense. These standards (DoD 6055.09 – M) include safety standards for real property known or suspected to contain munitions and explosives of concern (MEC). This standard is incorporated into the Army Regulation 385-10 (The Army Safety Program) and further explained in Department of the Army Pamphlet 385-64 (Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards).
In 1993 an archival investigation was conducted to locate areas where military munitions may have been used. Additional archive searches, follow-on interviews and visual inspections conducted since 1993 indicate that approximately 12,000 acres are known or suspected to contain MEC. Twenty-nine munitions response sites (MRSs) are identified in the Phase 1 Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA). The Phase 2 EE/CA established a process to evaluate the remaining sites. The areas range in size from less than one acre to more than 1,000 acres, although most of the areas are less than 200 acres. All identified MRSs have been investigated, and if warranted, MEC removal actions were conducted to minimize the explosive safety risk to the public. Types of MEC found at Fort Ord include artillery projectiles, rockets, hand grenades, practice land mines, pyrotechnics, bombs, demolition materials and other items.
In 1998, the Army began a comprehensive evaluation of past investigations and removal actions to develop remedial actions that will support long-term reuse of Fort Ord. These evaluations are documented in a series of remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) reports. These RI/FS reports supported several records of decision (ROD) as part of the Army’s Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) at Fort Ord. The Fort Ord MMRP is being conducted in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), incorporating an extensive public participation process, under regulatory oversight of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
Track 3 Impact Area Munitions Response Area
The historical Impact Area is located in the southwestern portion of Fort Ord. The Impact Area contains several former ranges, with specific target areas having the highest densities of MEC. The Army is conducting a remedial action within a 6,560-acre portion of the Impact Area. This area is fenced, posted with warning signs, and is off-limits to unauthorized people.
Track 2 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Area B
The Fort Ord Public Lands have been managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) since the lands were transferred from the Army in 1996. The property, which includes 86 miles of trails, is extensively used for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding by local residents and tourists. On April 20, 2012 the Fort Ord Public Lands were designated as the Fort Ord National Monument. During the long history of Fort Ord as an Army training facility, many areas were used for training involving military munitions and explosives. The training often resulted in MEC remaining on those areas. The Army conducted investigation, sampling, and removal of MEC within the transferred BLM lands.
Although visitors who comply with posted restrictions and remain on designated trails on the Fort Ord National Monument are safe from munition risk, the Army conducted a comprehensive evaluation of BLM Area B in terms of explosives safety to complete the Superfund process at Fort Ord. This evaluation also includes the final review of MRS-16, where MEC removals were conducted following a prescribed burn in 2006.
Under this process, cleanup alternatives were evaluated to manage risks and support future designated use of the property as a habitat reserve with public access as a National Monument managed by BLM.
The final recommendations were summarized in a Proposed Plan. The Army received comments from the community during the 30-day public comment period for the Proposed Plan. The Army is in the process of considering the comments and consulting with the regulatory agencies. Public comments will be considered before any cleanup decision is made. Remedy selection will be announced in a local newspaper.
- View the BLM Area B Factsheet
- View a BLM trail map that includes an outline of the BLM Area B lands that are being evaluated
- View BLM online map
Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA)
To facilitate land transfer and reuse, the Army transferred property to Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) as part of an agreement known as the Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA). In this 2007 agreement, FORA committed to completing the evaluation of MEC hazards on about 3,340 acres of the former Fort Ord and will take any remedial actions deemed necessary to protect human health and the environment with respect to MEC based on future uses. The Army provided funding to complete the munitions cleanup under the agreement. For more information about FORA ESCA remediation program, go to www.foraescarp.com.