Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Remediation

Site Assessment 

There are several sequential steps involved in a UXO site assessment.   

The first step is a Historical Desktop Review. Our technicians will undertake a formal, thorough review of literature relating to the site, including historical defence and government agency records to learn more about the site’s former use. This step is also combined with a detailed UXO risk assessment, and together these processes allow us to develop an initial picture of the likelihood of UXO contamination and risk.  

Should this initial assessment suggest UXO contamination, the next sequential step is a field validation survey.  

Field Validation Survey 

A field validation survey is a physical assessment of a percentage of an area to provide an indication of UXO likelihood. This process may be conducted visually or supported with technology.   

The primary objective of a UXO Field Validation Survey (FVS) is to locate and identify any evidence of military related explosive ordnance material (EOM), to determine if high explosive munitions (HE) have impacted the site from previous military training activities.   

This survey helps to determine:  

  • the types of UXO  
  • likely penetration depths  
  • any noted soil magnetic properties and its effect on UXO detection equipment  
  • the geography of the site  
  • the presence of non-UXO metallic site contaminants.  

A report is then prepared with clear conclusions and recommendations. As a minimum, this report will:  

  • Identify the boundary of the areas subjected to the UXO FVS operations  
  • Indicate the type, nature and location of any located EOM  
  • Distinguish the type and location of any UXO or Explosive Ordnance (EO) found  
  • Provide clear recommendations on any delineated areas of the site that require 100 per cent remediation.   
  • Recommend our preferred remediation methodology and technology with an estimation of costs.    

Site remediation 

Depending on the outcomes of a desk stop study and the undertaking of a formal onsite UXO FVS, UXO remediation may be required to manage the level of the identified UXO risk.   

UXO remediation is the location, removal and appropriate disposal of all UXO, EO and EOM of a specified size from the surface and to a specified depth below the surface, within the specified boundaries of an area.    

OPEC Systems has full in-house capability to design, plan, safely execute and deliver a UXO remediation solution.  OPEC will also liaise with and facilitate the disposal of any located items of UXO with the Department of Defence’s Joint Explosives Ordnance Services.      

OPEC Systems has a transportable demilitarisation facility to safely manage and undertake offsite removal of ‘free from explosive’ certified Explosive Ordnance Material (EOM). This enables safe offsite disposal, with appropriate material tracking documentation, to commercial metal recycling facilities. 

Environmental management and vegetation reduction  

Reducing vegetation in areas with potential Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) or other forms of contamination which can be compromised through disturbance of the sub-surface profile requires specialist capabilities to ensure the safety of clients, operators and the public.    

Traditional de-vegetation methods such as bulldozing, chaining and other intrusive techniques can exacerbate safety risks and potentially spread contamination.   

To overcome these risks OPEC has developed specialised vegetation mulching methods which minimise soil destabilisation.   

However, even when using low impact techniques like mulching, the potential to disturb contaminants during a vegetation reduction exercise is a real threat which can have life threatening consequences if not performed correctly.   

OPEC Systems employs a set of specialist Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), equipment, operator training and risk management procedures designed to allow vegetation reduction to be safely undertaken on sites where contaminants may be present.