On this crisp fall morning in Northeast Alabama, the surrounding calm was interrupted by explosions of Pentolite boosters and PETN Detonation Cord. The explosions commemorated the successful conclusion of an eleven-year effort to clean Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) off of 2781 acres of
Fort McClellan, a US Army installation whose origins trace back to 1917, fell victim to the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure deliberations and the Fort officially deactivated in 1999. Today the McClellan Development Authority (successor to the Joint Powers Authority), serves as the Local Reuse Authority responsible for the economic redevelopment of this former military installation. A major part of those redevelopment efforts include the environmental cleanup of 4,692 acres so that the property can be put back to use for industrial, commercial, residential, and recreational expansion. Today’s celebration marks a significant milestone in the completion of those cleanup activities. While there are still sites scattered throughout the former fort that require soil and ground water remediation, the successful completion of UXO and other Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) remediation represents a large portion of the overall environmental cleanup efforts.
For eleven years, citizens on McClellan and in the surrounding communities got used to the sound of detonations reverberating off the hills surrounding McClellan as cleanup crews disposed of UXO. During this timeframe MDA contractors cleaned 2781 acres of UXO/MEC. To do that, they first surveyed and marked 13,643 (100’x 100’) grids, then conducted investigations using digital electromagnetic and hand-held metal detectors to find potentially dangerous munitions. Through these actions contractors digitally
As the MDA cleanup team moves into the next phase of environmental activities, they can pause for just a moment to commemorate this significant milestone on the road of redevelopment and future economic growth for McClellan…a milestone that was reached effectively, safely, and on budget.