Munitions & Explosives of Concern (MEC) Removal Action, Camp Butner, NC

Contract: Munitions Response Services, CONUS/OCONUS for U.S. Army Engineering & Support Center Huntsville (USAESCH)

USA completed a MEC Removal Action at the former Camp Butner, NC, comprised of approximately 40,384 acres, which included the town of Butner and the North Carolina Army National Guard (NCANG) Camp Butner Training Site. The initial scope of the removal action included six tasks for MEC surface and subsurface clearance from selected housing clusters, and two clearance tasks around 255 individual residences.

Activities performed by USA included analog geophysical mapping using geographical information system (GIS); detecting surface/subsurface MEC; and ultimately removed and disposed of MEC and associated debris from over 549 total acres.

Site preparation involved establishing an instrument verification strip (IVS); location, surveying and mapping; grid stake-out; and vegetation clearance.  Many of the residential properties required vegetation removal in order to enable a proper MEC clearance. Much of the vegetation clearance was completed by UXO Technicians using hand-held weed-whackers. Where large areas of thick vegetation were encountered, a local lawn and landscaping contractor was hired to clear the areas with a tractor-mounted bush hog. USA also subcontracted the manufacturing and installation of 35 explosive hazard warning signs at strategic locations around the former Camp Butner, which required coordination with NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Site restoration operations were performed on each site, involving the back-filling of anomaly excavations and re-seeding of residential properties.

In order to accomplish this project, USA orchestrated nearly 700 voluntary residential evacuations. Several 155mm High Explosives (HE) projectiles were found within the clearance areas, one within 65 feet of a residence. Detailed blast effects analysis and engineering controls were employed to protect the residences from damage during the blow-in-place (BIP) operations; trenches were dug to specific depths and widths between the projectile and the foundation to absorb seismic shock, and a buried earth modules program was used to calculate the amount of soil needed to absorb the fragmentation. As a result of these efforts, no damage to residences was incurred from the BIP operations.

Work at Camp Butner involved substantial coordination with regulators and stakeholders. USA researched, planned and implemented an approved Community Relations Plan; and we also provided support for the quarterly Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings, briefing the RAB members on progress, recording minutes of the meetings, and addressing property concerns. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources  (NCDENR) also reviewed WPs, annual reports, and had a representative on the RAB.