Due to the staggering amount of projects and budget realities, Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) across the country can take several years, or even decades, to be addressed. Because of the dormant periods in between initial site investigations and when deeper investigations or cleanups can take place the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed a nationwide Notification and Safety Education Initiative to promote safety at those sites until the Corps can fully investigate the extent of the contamination.
“With safety as the priority, the goal of this program is to notify and educate property owners and other members of the public who may be on these sites on how to recognize and respond to the potential hazards and reduce their risk,” said Andrew Dettmer, Louisville District FUDS program manager.
In November, the Louisville District conducted its notification to property owners at 14 project sites in Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.
“The initial rollout went well,” said Dettmer, “We coordinated the distribution of over 350 notification letters to the property owners and notified all of the respective federal, state and local officials as well as the first responders near each project. Now that the letters have been sent out, we are responding to inquiries from the public as they come in.”
All the notification letters included contact information for the newly established FUDS Interim Risk Management Call Center at (855) 765-3837 that was developed to field general inquiries from these FUDS properties across the country. Any specific inquiries are sent to the Louisville District to be answered.
Additionally, the program provides safety brochures and materials to any agencies/parks or property owners who request it. For example, if a site is often used for hiking, USACE wants to make sure that there is awareness through brochures and signage that potential munitions could be present. The brochures encourage visitors to follow the 3 Rs—Recognize, Retreat and Report anything unusual that is found.