Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center

Munitions Response

Four photos of Navy munitions sites being cleaned up



The Munitions Response Program (MRP) was initiated in 2001 after Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to identify and then prioritize its munitions response sites as part of the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP). The MRP is designed to clean up discarded military munitions, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and their chemical residues at closed ranges and munitions disposal sites. It does not include range cleanup and sustainability activities at operational ranges.

The DON’s MRP is modeled after the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and is implemented using the process developed for cleanup under the CERCLA legislation.  The MRP must also address the unique explosive safety hazards associated with Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) at Navy and Marine Corps locations not designated as operational ranges.  Funding for the MRP is identified separately from IRP funding. 


     Process        Case Studies          Resources          T2 Tools    



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The MRP addresses releases of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC), defined as unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions (DMM), and munitions constituents (MC), which pose explosives safety hazards and risks to human health or the environment.  This Web page presents an overview of the Department of the Navy (DON) MRP and the process followed for investigations and response actions under the MRP.  The MRP response actions follow the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) response process as described below.

Preliminary Assessment (PA) and Site Investigation (SI).  Munitions response actions typically begin by site identification through completion of a PA/SI. The PA/SI is not intended as a full-scale study of the nature and extent of contamination or explosives hazards, but rather to determine whether or not there is a release or potential release and the nature of the associated threats.  The PA process involves collecting and reviewing historical information about the site and may include a visual survey to identify physical evidence of the presence of MEC and/or MC at the site.  The SI consists of a visual and detector-aided field inspection focused on identifying surface evidence of MEC.  This information is used to delineate boundaries, collect broad site information, and perform an initial assessment of the hazard/risk posed by any MEC/MC found at the site. 

Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS).  The RI/FS for MRSs serves as the mechanism for collecting data to characterize site conditions, determining the nature and extent of MEC/MC present, assessing hazard/risk to human health and the environment, and evaluating various remedial alternatives using the CERCLA nine criteria.  The primary objective of the RI is to evaluate the potential explosive safety hazard at the site.  The primary technique for evaluating the site is to perform a detailed geophysical investigation with follow-on intrusive investigations of target anomalies to determine the extent of MEC contamination and to verify site boundaries.  The RI also includes the performance of a MEC hazard assessment (HA) and MC risk assessment if applicable.  The FS includes an evaluation of remedial alternatives including depth of removal, detection technology options, required support activities (such as brush clearance), and MEC processing/disposal options for a given site.  For MC sites, the FS includes an evaluation of in situ or ex situ remedial treatment technologies for the impacted media such as soil or groundwater.  Note that an Explosives Safety Submission (ESS) must be approved prior to the initiation of any munitions response activities that involve explosives, intentional physical contact with MEC, or ground-disturbing or other intrusive activities in areas known or suspected to contain MEC or material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH).  Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA 8020.15D) outlines when a Remedial Project Manager (RPM) must submit an ESS.

Remedial Design (RD).  The RD for MEC projects typically involves selecting the detection technology and methods to achieve the removal depths identified in the Record of Decision (ROD) or Decision Document. Design considerations may include selection of brush removal technologies, detection sensors, platforms, and positioning technologies. It also may include planning for recovery, management, processing, and disposal technologies for MPPEH.

Remedial Action (RA).  MEC RAs are often a combination of physical removal augmented by land use controls (LUCs). Little construction, if any, is required because the RA for MEC is typically implemented without installing a treatment facility or equipment. Remedial technologies for MRSs generally include options for detection, removal, and treatment of MEC. Treatment options vary depending on the type of MEC to be addressed, and include blow in place (BIP) with or without engineering controls (ECs), consolidated detonation, and contained destruction chamber.  However, at MC sites, the traditional design, construction, and operation phases may be necessary similar to IRP sites. MEC items will need to be removed before the MC can be treated.  At small arms firing ranges, treatment options include excavation with off-site disposal, soil washing/particle separation, soil stabilization, chemical extraction, asphalt emulsion batching-encapsulation, and phytoextraction/stabilization approaches.  Once all munitions response actions have been completed, the RPM must submit an After Action Report (AAR).

Long-Term Management (LTMgt).  LTMgt involves implementing, monitoring, and managing LUCs. This includes ECs such as fences and institutional controls (ICs) such as training programs and handouts.  A review is performed every 5 years to determine if LUCs and other ECs are still in place and functioning properly.

Site Closeout.  A site can be closed if final remedial action objectives are achieved following implementation of the remedy. 

More detailed information on how to carry out specific MRP investigation and cleanup efforts throughout the CERCLA process can be found in the Navy policy and guidance section of this Web site.

Explosives Safety





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Case Studies

NAVFAC Atlantic - Munitions Response on Vieques Island

EPA Webpage on Vieques Island

Cat Island Munitions Cleanup Video    (run time 32 minutes, file size 36,829kb)
This video summarizes case study information from the Former Cat Island Bomb Target at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point.  It includes a discussion of site history, stakeholder involvement, aerial digital geophysical mapping (DGM), site inspection, and surface removal results.




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     Policy & Guidance            Publications             T2 Tools            Related Sites    



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Policy and Guidance

Topics Title and Description
Feasibility Study Guidance

Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Guidance (June 2019) 


Site Priority

DoD Munitions Response Site Prioritization Protocol Rule (October 2005)

Rule to assign a relative priority for munitions responses to each munitions response site in the DoD inventory of defense sites known or suspected of containing unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions (DMM), or munitions constituents (MC).

Munitions Response Sites

CNO Guidance  - Navy Munitions Response Program (MRP) Inclusion of Sites, CNO letter 5090 Ser N456/N5U9011373  (June 2005)

Provides guidance for inclusion of sites or areas of concern (AOCs) in Navy's MRP and supplements previous guidance provided by the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).


CNO Guidance on Applying the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) Toxic Release Inventory Requirements to Ranges, CNO Letter 5090 Ser N451/OU595469  (May 2000)

CNO Memorandum: Guidance on Applying the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Toxic Release Inventory Requirements to Ranges - May 2000


DoD Guidance on Guidance on Applying the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) Toxic Release Inventory Requirements to Ranges, DUSD(ES) Memo  (April 2000)

DoD Memorandum: Guidance on Applying the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Toxic Release Inventory Requirements to Ranges - April 2000

DoD on Military Munitions Rule

DoD Policy to Implement EPA's Military Munitions Rule, (July 1998)

This policy interprets the requirements of the Military Munitions rule (MR) (62FR6621, Feb12, 1997), and establishes an overarching policy for the management of waste military munitions (WMM) that is consistent among DoD Components.

EPA Military Munitions Rule

EPA Military Munitions Rule (Final), 62FR6622 (February 1997)

Finalized Rule that identifies when conventional and chemical military munitions become a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and that provides for the safe storage and transport of such waste. It also amends emergency responses for munitions and explosives.




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Topics Title and Description Pages Size (KB)

Quality Assurance


Munitions Response Quality Assessment Spreadsheet (August 2017)

The NAVFAC Munitions Response (MR) Quality Assessment Spreadsheet is a tool that Remedial Project Managers can use to assess the quality of their unexploded ordnance (UXO) contractor's MR actions and to help to ensure that contractual requirements are met. The information includes a series of questions to ask throughout the performance of a project to help improve quality for both traditional MR projects and advanced geophysical classification (AGC) projects.

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Munitions Constituents
Natural Attenuation

Attenuation Pathways for Munitions Constituents in Soils and Groundwater (January 2015)

The objective of this report is to provide an understanding of natural and enhanced attenuation processes for muntions constituents (MC) in soils and groundwater. Recent research findings related to MC attenuation pathways are summarized, along with lessons learned from monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and bioremediation applications for MC at DoD and other sites. The scope of this report includes MC issues; physical, chemical, and biological attenuation pathways; technology applications; and case studies.

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Geophysical Classification

ITRC Introduction to Geophysical Classification for Munitions Response Team Fact Sheet (October 2012)

This fact sheet from the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council  is designed to provide basic information about geophysical classification for munitions response.

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ITRC Incremental Sampling Methodology Technology Regulatory and Guidance Document (February 2012)

The purpose of this technical guidance document (in html) is to advance the appropriate use of the incremental sampling methodology (ISM) for sampling soils from the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council.

Site Characterization

EPA Federal Facilities Forum Issue Paper: Site Characterization for Munitions Constituents (January 2012)

This document provides information related to MC sampling strategies that provide representative samples, and analytical methods developed to characterize these samples.

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MR Site Classification

DoD Implementing Advanced Classification on Munitions Response Sites: A Guide to Informed Decision Making for Project Managers, Regulators, and Contractors, ESTCP (December 2011)

This document from the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) provides interim guidance to evaluate whether classification is appropriate for a site, establish realistic expectations based on what has been demonstrated to date, and assess whether classification is being implemented correctly.

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Wide-Area Assessment

ITRC Frequently Asked Questions about Wide-Area Assessment for Munitions Response Projects (May 2010)

This document from the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council provides information about the wide-area assessment (WAA) process and the tools currently available to conduct WAA within a munitions response area.

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Geophysical System Verification

Geophysical Prove-outs

DoD Geophysical System Verification (GSV): A Physics-Based Alternative to Geophysical Prove-Outs for Munitions Response, ESTCP (July 2009)

This report from the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) presents the physics basis of the evolution from geophysical prove-outs to GSV, outlines key elements of the GSV, and describes its implementation on an example site.

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MR Technologies


Survey of Munitions Response Technologies, SERDP, ESTCP, and ITRC (June 2006)

This document from the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council provides an overview of the status of technologies used for munitions response actions and evaluates and quantifies their performance capabilities.

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MR Response Actions

Handbook on the Management of Munitions Response Actions, U.S. EPA (May 2005)

This handbook provides a summary of keys issues such as a regulatory overview, MEC characteristics, detection technologies, response technologies, explosives safety, investigations, response actions, and more

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Statement of Work (SOW) Template for a Removal Action at a Munitions Response Site, NAVFAC (May 2010)

This template is to be used for the removal action phase where the contractor performs the munitions response actions necessary under a time critical removal action (TCRA), Emergency Removal Action, or non-time critical removal actions (NTCRA) to address the past use of MEC and MC.

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Statement of Work (SOW) Template for Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at a Munitions Response Site, NAVFAC (March 2010)

This template is to be used for the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS), where the purpose is to determine the nature and extent of the hazard/threat presented by MEC/MC contamination, to perform an explosives safety hazard assessment and/or MC risk assessment, and evaluate proposed MEC/MC remedies.

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Statement of Work (SOW) Template for Site Inspection at Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Sites, NAVFAC (November 2009)

This template is to be used for the site inspection (SI) phase of sites contaminated with munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) or munitions constituents (MC).  This template assumes subsurface soil sampling may be conducted for MC and other potential site contaminants, but that no intrusive or subsurface investigation will be done for MEC. 

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Statement of Work (SOW) Template for a Small Arms Range Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS), NAVFAC (November 2009)

This template is specific to small arms ranges. It is assumed that neither MEC nor material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH), other than expended or unexpended small arms ammunition, will be encountered at small arms ranges. Small arms ammunition is ammunition, without projectiles that contain explosives (other than tracers), that is .50 caliber or smaller, or for shotguns. A small arms range is a range used exclusively for expenditure of small arms ammunition.

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QA SOW Template - Background on the Statement of Work Template for Quality Assessment at a Munitions Response Site, NAVFAC Munitions Response Workgroup Report (July 2012)

This template describes requirements for developing quality assessment procedures for all munitions response actions

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NOSSA Instruction 8020.15C Explosives Safety Review, Oversight, and Verification of Munitions Responses (February 2011)

This Naval Ordnance Safety & Security Activity (NOSSA) instruction assigns responsibility and establishes procedures and reporting requirements for the oversight, review, and verification of the explosives safety aspects of Navy response actions involving MEC.

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Technology Transfer (T2)  Web Tools 


  T2 Tools  

Energetic Constituents Sampling Tool

This tool focuses on outlining a systematic approach for characterizing energetic munitions constituents (MC) on closed ranges. It summarizes the results of the deposition studies and offers several recommendations for sampling designs and strategies for energetic residue characterization.

Print/Text Version

Munitions Response Management Tool (MRMT)

This tool reviews the resources necessary to manage a munitions response site (MRS) under the Munitions Response Program (MRP). It provides definitions for key terms and discusses the steps involved in the MRP process from preliminary assessment to site closeout.

Print/Text Version

MRP Detection Tool

This tool discusses the detection, location, and reacquisition of MEC. The tool reviews the basic concepts behind each type of detection technology and provides descriptions of the sensors, platforms, positioning, navigation techniques, and data processing methods.

Print/Text Version

MRP Removal Technologies Tool

The tool presents several methods for the removal of MEC. The methods discussed include manual, mechanized, underwater and explosive soil removal among others. Proper disposal of MECs is also discussed.

Print/Text Version

Perchlorate Treatment Technologies Tool

This tool provides a brief background on perchlorate chemistry, sources, and analytical methods. It reviews perchlorate treatment technologies including biological and ion exchange treatment. DoD sponsored projects related to the removal of perchlorate from groundwater are also highlighted.

Print/Text Version



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Related Sites

Title and Description

NAVFAC Munitions Response (MR) Workgroup

The MR Workgroup was established to develop and recommend for approval NAVFAC-wide MR guidance, and promote the use of best available technologies and methodologies for managing cleanup of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and munitions constituents (MC) on Navy installations, with the ultimate goal of reducing explosives hazards and environmental risks in a cost-effective and timely manner.

ESTCP Munitions Response Program Area

This Web site links to research that supports the development and demonstration of innovative technologies that can characterize, remediate, and scientifically manage sites affected by military munitions

ESTCP Live Site Demonstrations

This Web site provides results from a series of demonstrations at live sites to validate and compare multiple advanced technologies and data processing techniques designed for the detection and classification of buried UXO.

ESTCP Classification in Munitions Response Sites

This Web site summarizes information available on classification technologies used to differentiate between hazardous munitions and other nonhazardous geology and debris that are detected by sensors used in munitions response.

ESTCP Advanced Classification On-Demand Videos

These on-demand videos provide tutorials on the sensors, methods, and status of classification at military munitions response sites using geophysical methods

ITRC Munitions Response Team/UXO

This Web site provides a summary of work completed by the ITRC Munitions Response/UXO team and links to their guidance documents and internet-based training opportunities for topics including munitions response historical records review, geophysical prove-outs for munitions response projects, state regulatory role in UXO detection, characterization technology selection, and survey of munitions response technologies

ITRC Perchlorate Team

This Web site provides a summary of work completed by the ITRC Perchlorate Team and links to their guidance documents and internet-based training opportunities for topics including perchlorate sources, analytical methods, toxicological issues, and remediation technologies for soil and groundwater.

ITRC Small Arms Firing Range Team

The Web site provides guidance documents and internet-based training opportunities for topics including the characterization and remediation of soils at closed small arms firing ranges

USACE Environmental & Munitions Center of Expertise, Military Munitions Division (CX-MM)

This Web site summarizes the mission of CX-MM to support the USACE Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) in reducing the human health and environmental risk associated with MEC/MC.  Links are provided to documents, innovative technology demonstrations, processes, tools, and more

U.S. EPA's Military Munitions and UXO Web Site

This Web site describes military munitions and UXO issues from the U.S. EPA Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO).

U.S. EPA Clu-In Overview of Environmental Issues Associated with Residues of Energetic Materials

This Web site describes environmental issues associated with energetic materials including physical/chemical properties, safety issues, sampling design, sample analysis, field screening, and more


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