Munitions Classification in the Hands of Production Firms
Production contractors have demonstrated that munitions classification can be implemented successfully in an operational environment by trained personnel deploying advanced sensors. The ESTCP Classification Pilot Program recently completed two successful live site demonstrations of advanced sensors and processing algorithms with increasing involvement from production contractors in the data collection and analysis processes. The commercially available MetalMapper (MM) was demonstrated at the former Pole Mountain Target and Maneuver Area (PMTMA), Wyoming. MetalMapper and newly developed portable electromagnetic induction (EMI) systems for munitions response were demonstrated at the former Camp Beale, California. After receiving training from the technology developers, many production contractors achieved excellent results similar to those of developers classifying munitions from other nonhazardous items. Effective technology transfer to the munitions response production contractor community is critical as advanced sensors become commercially available and classification as a viable remedial alternative is written into requests for proposals.
At PMTMA, a production contractor field crew collected high-quality cued MM data, averaging 215 cued interrogations per day. A number of production contractor analysts, some working alone and one working with the developers of classification methods, were successful in using these data to achieve substantial classification. The more successful performers were able to correctly identify all of the targets of interest (TOI) and eliminate about 90 percent of the clutter, with one group able to eliminate greater than 95 percent of the clutter. All were able to correctly classify at least 75 percent of the clutter.
At Camp Beale, two production contractors collected MM data for the first time. Operators were trained in field operations and quality control (QC) procedures by MM developers, and data were initially QCed by personnel with prior MM experience. Both data sets were analyzed by multiple analysts – production and development. Although there were small differences in various measures of data quality, both data sets were of high overall quality and acceptable to perform classification. The average MM data collection rates for the two production contractors increased over the span of the demonstration. Both contractors noted that their initial production reflected inefficiency inherent in learning to operate a new system and is not likely predictive of future productivity. Production contractors using the man-portable TEMTADS 2x2 array and working alongside developers of the system averaged 175 targets per day. Data collected with the TEMTADS 2x2 were of high quality and acceptable to perform classification.
Production analysts at Camp Beale also analyzed the MM data sets that each production contractor respectively collected. One analyst was able to correctly identify all but 285 of the total 1310 clutter items, for a potential savings of about 75 percent of clutter digs. Results from other analysts were also good, with most TOI correctly identified. Not all production analysts performed this well however, underscoring the need for additional training in the methods and protocols of classification. ESTCP continues to develop and present training for production contractors in conjunction with the National Association of Ordnance and Explosive Waste Contractors (NAOC).
It is expected that as the Pilot Program proceeds, consistently better production performers will begin to emerge. Field implementation of classification by these production contractors will lead to an accelerated pace of cleanup at funding levels not expected to increase for remediating munitions-contaminated sites across the Department of Defense and nation.
ESTCP plans a number of additional demonstrations in 2012 to further support the transition of advanced classification sensors and processing methods to field use. Upcoming demonstration sites include the former Spencer Artillery Range, Tennessee; the Massachusetts Military Reservation – Camp Edwards, Massachusetts; and the former Camp George West, Colorado. As additional production firms become involved and experienced in classification data collection and analysis, emphasis will also be placed on increasing small business participation, where appropriate, and pairing demonstrations with production Remedial Investigations.
For further information and reports from the series of ESTCP Classification Pilot Program demonstrations, visit Featured Initiatives > Munitions Response Initiatives > Classification Applied to Munitions Response.