The Department of Defense is responsible for environmental restoration of properties that were formerly owned by, leased to, or otherwise possessed by the United States and under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense prior to October 1986. Such properties are known as Formerly Used Defense Sites or FUDS. The U.S. Army is the executive agent for the program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages and directs the program’s administration. DoD, the Army and the Corps of Engineers are dedicated to protecting human health and the environment by investigating and remediating potential contamination that may remain on these properties.
Congress created the FUDS Program in the mid-1980s. The Corps of Engineers executes the program pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liabilities Act. The type of remediation required under the FUDS Program 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; and doing building demolition and debris removal.
FUDS properties can range from less than an acre to tens of thousands of acres, and can be found in industrial or residential areas as well as federal or state lands. The scope and magnitude of the FUDS program are significant, with more than 10,000 properties identified for potential inclusion in the program. The Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District is responsible for FUDS properties in Arizona, southern California, New Mexico, and the southern tip of Nevada.
The Corps of Engineers prioritizes projects based on the hazards that are present and the threat those hazards pose to human health and the environment. Most projects take several years to complete (based on available funding) and each is unique. Active communication, coordination, consultation and collaboration with property owners, state and federal regulators, tribal and local governments, and local communities are critical in planning and carrying out remediation activities. The Corps of Engineers works hard to keep all interested parties informed and offers opportunities for dialogue throughout all cleanup phases.
Safety is a Priority
Follow the 3Rs of Explosives Safety if you suspect you may have come across a military munition.
Recognize – when you may have encountered a munition and that munitions are dangerous.
Retreat – do not approach, touch, move or disturb it, but carefully leave the area.
Report – call 911 and advise the police of what you saw and where you saw it.