Local dignitaries gathered at the former Fort McClellan in northeast Alabama on Wednesday for a final “big bang” marking the successful conclusion of the McClellan Development Authority’s 11-year effort to remove unexploded ordnance (UXO) from 2,781 acres of training ranges.
Since the authority’s predecessor signed its first environmental services cooperative agreement (ESCA) with the Army in 2003 to assume responsibility for remediation, contractors have destroyed 14,338 munitions and recovered more than 2.9 million pounds of scrap metal, according to a press release. The authority was especially proud that that the cleanup was completed without any explosives accidents.
The authority’s cleanup partner is Matrix, which has been the prime contractor for the cleanup of UXO and other hazardous waste.
Including a second ESCA signed in 2007, the Army provided the authority $216.3 million to clean up UXO as well as other soil and groundwater contamination. To date, the authority has spent $153 million to remove UXO and on other remediation activities. The remaining funds will be used to finish cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination and for long-term monitoring.
That effort, including installation of groundwater treatment systems, will take from three to five years, said Robin Scott, the authority’s executive director.