Early Transfer, Fixed Price Remediation with Insurance for Munitions and Explosives of Concern, CA

Leading a team of our partners, Weston obtained regulatory approval on an innovative remediation approach featuring a rigorous quality process to allow residential reuse in an area with a housing shortage.

Early Transfer (ET) of Contaminated Property

The former Fort Ord on the California coast near Monterey was used primarily as a training base since it was founded in 1917 until it closing in 1994 as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). The former base contains extensive munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and is on the National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites.

Since June 2005, Weston has worked with our partners to finalize agreements that will set forth the type and scope of the remediation, as well as the timing and financing, with Weston. Stakeholders to the final agreement include Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA), the U.S. Army, Region 9 of the EPA, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). In fact, this project will be the first ET of a “Superfund” property contaminated with MEC.

With most of the non-contaminated property already transferred to FORA, approximately 5,000 acres remained from prior transfers as a result of their severely environmentally impaired status with MEC. However, the team’s review of the environmental conditions and risks indicated that about 1,500 of those acres were actually immediately acceptable to the state and federal regulators for transfer. This fact allowed the acreage to be put into FORA’s hands for immediate redevelopment and saved the Army a considerable amount of money. The remaining 3,484 acres are the subject of the ET.

In August 2006, the LFR/Weston team completed the technical negotiations regarding the appropriate MEC cleanup response and the associated funding to achieve the cleanup levels to support the future reuse of the property. To accomplish these negotiations, Weston and our partners met numerous times over 15 months with the decision makers from the Office of the Assistant to the Army, the Office of the General Counsel for the Army, and BRAC office in Washington, D.C., as well as EPA and DTSC.

MEC Remediation

Once the cleanup process begins, Weston will execute, under a Fixed Price Remediation Contract (with insurance to protect against overruns) valued at approximately $90 million, the MEC remediation and property closure. Our team will support the regulatory process (remedial investigations, feasibility studies, and records of decision) and manage all field investigation and remediation activities, including surface and subsurface MEC clearance in residential, development, and habitat reuse areas. This process will include sifting approximately 300,000 cubic yards of soil, which, when cleaned, will ultimately be reused as material in the redevelopment.

The project is scheduled for completion in about 7 years—well ahead of the 20-year remediation schedule planned had the Army retained the property. As a result of the accelerated site closure, the property will be returned to productive use and local tax rolls in the near term, creating a mutually beneficial situation for the residents and stakeholders.

Weston has identified a remediation approach agreed to by the regulatory agencies that will potentially result in the Army saving tens of millions of dollars. We will conduct a geophysical survey using the best available and appropriate detection technologies that ensure the most dependable data and will employ a rigorous quality process.

Ultimately, the transferred property will be for both residential and commercial use and open spaces for wildlife habitat. The intended residential reuse required extensive coordination with regulatory agencies to devise an intensive residential quality approach process that would satisfy concerns about residual MEC hazards on residential property.

Additionally, Weston will be integral to the extensive public outreach and involvement program required to bring about regulatory closure.

With our previous ET experience, Weston has knowledge of the process and stakeholders and proven experience in closing ET deals. Equally important, Weston’s relationship with the U.S. Army is one of mutual respect and cooperation.

Project Highlights:

  • Key role in the negotiations for the first ET of a munitions-contaminated NPL site.
  • Saved potentially tens of millions of dollars by structuring a process allows the land to be returned to reuse more quickly.
  • Allowed almost one-third of the original proposed ET acreage to be found suitable for immediate transfer after a thorough analysis of environmental conditions and risks.

Utilized Weston’s RespondFast® UXO Data Management System comprising ruggedized personal digital assistants (PDAs) field data collection, a secure web portal for editing and reporting data, along with a web-based GIS for mapping an analysis.

“…Weston Solutions has been key in guiding our negotiations with the U.S. Army and the processing of the first privatization on a Superfund site in California. Weston has been particularly helpful in crafting the array of documents and engineering support necessary to navigate through the Early Transfer and Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement maze. I highly recommend them to any community seeking to eliminate complex contamination issues on former military sites.”

Michael Houlemard, Executive Officer, Fort Ord Reuse Authority