Goose Bay UXO remediation requires constant communications

Clearing sites of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) is a painstaking job at best, but a number of factors are causing challenges for the UXO remediation of the Goose Bay Practice Target Area.

The American, Holland, German, Italian, British and Canadian air forces used the aerial practice range from 1985 to 2007 to hone their low-level flying skills and dropped an estimated 21,000 bombs of various types, amounting to approximately 2.6 million kg of debris.

The site is located about 120 km southwest of Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, with no road access. This means that everything that is needed to do the clearance work—from fuel and supplies, to people and heavy equipment—has to be flown in, explains DCC Goose Bay Site Manager Carlos Marques. In addition, there is only a short window from mid-June to early October when on-site activity is possible due to weather conditions.

DCC and DND representatives carried out reconnaissance of the site in June 2014. In October 2015 the project team spent three weeks on the site identifying, segregating and clearing to Level 1 about 1,500 bombs and UXO debris. The team will return to the site in June 2016 to explode these bombs to provide Level 3 clearance. The various UXO materials will then be sorted and packed into boxes ready for transport back to Goose Bay for proper recycling and/or disposal.

To respond to the project’s various challenges, DCC is in constant communications with 5 Wing colleagues, about everything from arranging the flights in and out of the site, equipment breakdowns, proper EOD procedures, and guidelines required to meet DND standards. “This project definitely requires more coordination than normal,” Marques says with a laugh. "But the results are very rewarding."

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