During the past 200 years, some activities supporting military readiness have resulted in the need for environmental cleanup within the United States and its territories. The Department of Defense, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are committed to protecting human health and the environment and improving public safety by cleaning up these properties. These properties include Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), which, when under the jurisdiction of DoD prior to October 1986, were used for a variety of purposes, including training and supporting Soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines, as well as to test new weapons and warfare capabilities. When no longer needed, many of these properties were cleaned up according to the best practices available at the time and then transferred to other owners such as private individuals or federal, state, tribal, or local government entities.
Congress created the FUDS program in the mid-1980’s. Under Army oversight, the Corps of Engineers executes the program pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liabilities Act, as amended (CERCLA). That work includes identifying eligible properties, investigating their condition and addressing any contamination by hazardous substances contamination that was the result of DoD activities. FUDS cleanups can include remediation of munitions that remain on site. The Corps of Engineers is committed to addressing this contamination in a safe, timely, and responsive manner. Teams from Corps of Engineers districts consult with state environmental and health offices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landowners and the public in performing the work.
The more than 10,000 potential FUDS properties across the country and its territories can range from less than an acre to hundreds of thousands of acres, and can be found in industrial or residential areas as well as on federal, tribal or state properties.
Cleanup projects are planned or ongoing at about 2,700 of the properties determined to be eligible for inclusion in the program. A single property may have more than one cleanup project. The type of cleanup required varies from property to property, and can include cleaning up hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste sites; removing munitions and explosives of concern and munitions constituents; or doing building demolition and debris removal if the building or structure was unsafe at the time of transfer.
The Corps of Engineers districts employ a risk management approach in accomplishing the cleanup, which follows CERCLA. Most projects take several years to complete, and each is unique.
Active communication, coordination, consultation and collaboration with property owners, state and federal regulators, tribal and local governments, local communities and other potentially responsible parties are critical in planning and carrying out cleanups. The Corps of Engineers works hard to keep all interested parties informed and offers opportunities for dialogue throughout all cleanup phases.
FUDS program expenditures through fiscal year 2012 total $5.8 billion. Program completion is projected at $14 billion based on 2012 dollars. Annual funding has been about $250 million a year.
More information about the FUDS program is available at www.fuds.mil