The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville recently sponsored a training session for more than 20 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees and members of the National Association of Ordnance Contractors on new or improved methods for performing characterization and remediation of military munitions.

The training focuses on the footprint reduction and remediation of unexploded ordnance sites module of Visual Sample Plan, a software tool used to support the development of a defensible sampling plan based on statistical sampling and analysis of results to support confident decision making during remediation processes.

The training, led by two Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory software developers and Huntsville Center geophysicists, continues Huntsville Centers' tradition of technical mentorship to USACE districts and ordnance industry contractors, said Bob Selfridge, a Huntsville Center geophysicist who assisted with conducting the training.

According to John Wilson and Lisa Newburn, PNLL software developers, VSP couples site, building and sample location visualization capabilities with optimal sampling design and statistical analysis strategies.

The first two days consisted of intensive, hands-on training focused on the VSP modules pertinent to UXO sampling for munitions. Attendees worked through case studies covering methods and tools for transect design, target area identification and delineation, anomaly density mapping and estimation, and verification of UXO cleanup. On the third day, an advanced training session provided an in-depth review of the new and updated VSP modules and features developed in support of Afghanistan range clearance operations, along with additional case studies demonstrating methods applied to actual sites and data from the Afghanistan project, Selfridge said.

"VSP's ability to streamline data analysis of the Afghanistan High Explosive Training Range Clearance project has contributed to accelerated schedules and reduction of personnel requirements which contributes to a savings of several hundred million dollars over the life of the project," Selfridge said.

Jon Wilson, an environmental engineer with Huntsville Center's Environmental Protection and Utilities Branch, attended the training session and said the session was fundamental to his job reviewing contractor proposals and providing oversight on Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies conducted at Formerly Used Defense Sites.

"VSP plays a vital role in planning and executing the selected approach for determining nature and extent for Munitions and Explosives of Concern associated with a particular project," Wilson said.

"While VSP is a tool used over multiple applications, this particular training focused on the use of VSP to determine the number and location of samples and transects to ensure specific confidence levels are met and results are statistically defensible," he said.

"The session also focused on a number of case studies where field work had been executed to show selected VSP approaches and results of its implementation in the field which was particularly useful in understanding both the nuances and full versatility of the program."