Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions

Location, Identification and Environmental Remediation


  • Richard Albright, Department of the Environment Defense Unit, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Unexploded military ordnance and toxic chemicals, some dating back to the two World Wars, are a global concern, especially when former military bases are redeveloped for housing or other civilian uses. Internationally, there are the added challenges of cleanup of battlegrounds and minefields. Experts estimate that the United States alone could spend between $50-250 billion to clean up these sites, many of which are in areas of high population density, where the demand for land for development is high.

This book is unique in providing detailed guidance for cleaning up military ordnance sites - listing explosives, chemical warfare materials and breakdown products which can contaminate soil and groundwater and the tests needed to detect them, as well as cleanup techniques. Also included are remote sensing techniques, geophysical techniques, safety issues, the particular challenges of chemical weapons, etc. The author illustrates these techniques with case studies, including former battlegrounds in Europe and Asia, storage and waste disposal sites in Russia and former Soviet territories, and an extended study of the remediation of the large and complex Spring Valley site in the District of Columbia,.

The second edition has been fully revised and updated, and also includes new and expanded sections on:

  • geophysical techniques for discovering buried ordnance
  • underwater sites and remediation techniques
  • use of robotics, including remotely operated vehicles
  • compliance and regulatory issues
  • guidance documents from US Department of Defense and other sources

The focus on test procedures, environmental remediation techniques, and learning from past case studies, makes Albright’s book the most comprehensive and practical guide on the market for a topic of international importance.

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Primary: Environmental Engineers, Environmental Scientists, Military Explosive and Ordnance Demolition (EOD) personnel, private companies involved in the cleanup of military munitions and explosives, first responders, construction industry

Secondary: Professors teaching Environmental Remediation Courses; Homeland Security professionals and terrorism experts dealing with Weapons of Mass Destruction.


Book information

  • Published: December 2011
  • ISBN: 978-1-4377-3477-5

Table of Contents

Part I. The Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions

  1. Cleaning Up Old Munitions Sites
  2. Limitations and Expertise in Remediating Munitions Sites
  3. The Extent of the Munitions Problem
  4. Explosive Ordnance
  5. Chemical Warfare Material
  6. Prior Ordnance Disposal Practices
  7. Ordnance Detection and Analysis
  8. Excavation and Removal of Ordnance
  9. Recommendations

  • Photo and Map Section
  • Photo and Map Section

Part II. Case Study: The American University Experiment Station (AUES): A Formerly Used Defense Site

  1. A History of the American University Experiment Station (AUES) Site
  2. Concerns over the Adequacy of Previous Remediation Efforts
  3. The District of Columbia's Initial Success as a State Regulator on AUES
  4. The Continuing Search for Burial Sites
  5. Expanding and Enlarging a Remediation Site
  6. The Dangers of Lewisite and Arsenic
  7. Sampling Conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers
  8. Conceptual Site Model for the AUES

18. Summary

  • Appendices
  • Bibliography