Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Management and Advice

As a result of military training and live firing undertaken by Australian and Allied forces over many decades, there are regions throughout Australia that are no longer owned by the Commonwealth, which may be subject to residual Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) contamination. 

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is any sort of military ammunition or explosive ordnance which has failed to function or ‘explode’ as intended. It may include shells, mortar bombs, mines, artillery shells, hand grenades, bombs, rockets or missiles, and many other types of ammunition, explosives and munitions.  

Areas with UXO are potentially hazardous to members of the public and pose a significant risk to people if disturbed.  In addition, items of UXO which have been souvenired from historical conflicts by members of the public are also a risk to the community.  

Over years, UXO’s can deteriorate, and this coupled with the impact of environmental conditions can increase their instability and make them more hazardous.   

There are UXO sites scattered around the Australia, with UXO’s more likely to be found at or adjacent to former defence sites.  Read more about this:https://www.defence.gov.au/UXO/Where/Default.asp 

Internationally, the problem of UXO contamination is immense. Our northern neighbours in Laos are considered to be the world’s most heavily bombed nation per capita. Surrounding countries of Vietnam and Cambodia have significant UXO problems, as do Japan, the USA, Iraq and Kuwait, much of Europe, northern African nations and islands of the South Pacific. Each UXO cluster poses a substantial public health risk for local communities.  

UXO remediation is an activity to locate, remove and appropriately dispose of UXO material, rendering the area safe for ongoing use.  

Remediation of sites with UXO contamination is an exacting and sometimes exhaustive process that requires diligent fieldwork and a disciplined mindset. It is enhanced through the use of cutting-edge technologies and a culture that embraces safety at its core.  

Using the guidance contained within the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines, OPEC Systems can provide detailed management and advice on the potential risk of UXO contamination on a site, as well as the risk and consequence of undertaking activities within sites suspected to have a risk of UXO contamination.    

Depending on the nature of the site, our role as UXO remediation experts is to undertake an initial formal desktop assessment to identify the potential for UXO to exist in a given area.  From this initial step, our team can determine the probability and consequences of UXO contamination at the site.  It may be that the presence of UXO is extremely unlikely and we advise that no further action is required; or our findings may lead us to recommend a formal field validation survey, followed by the development of a site specific UXO risk management plan. Should these sequential steps lead to the need for UXO remediation, our team has the necessary skills, competencies and equipment to safely undertake and deliver a complete site remediation activity.  

OPEC employs a team of skilled permanent fully qualified and chemical warfare agent trained EOD Technicians providing a capability rarely found outside of the Military. This accomplished team has all the experience and training necessary to successfully remediate sites contaminated with unexploded ordnance, with several granted membership to the Institute of Explosive Engineers (https://iexpe.org/). 

Our position on the DIP-EHE Panel, coupled with Accreditation in Environmental Management Systems (AS/NSZ ISO 14001:2015); Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015); OH&S Management Systems (AS/NZS 4801:2001); and OFSC accreditation by the Federal Safety Commissioner, provides our clients with confidence in our quality, safety and environmental procedures.   

Should you have a concern about UXO contamination at your site, please contact us for an obligation free conversation about how we can help.