US Army Corps of Engineers
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Port Angeles Combat Range

History: “In early 1943, the 115th Cavalry Squadron (mechanized) requested that land be leased in the area of Port Angeles, Washington for use as a ground-to-ground combat range. The range was intended to be used for tactical firing and shortrange distance firing (200 to 300 yards). Through leases and use permits, 1,628 acres were obtained for use at the Port Angeles Combat Range (PACR). The range was used for weapons practice with 37mm and 75mm projectiles, 60mm and 81mm mortars, and various small arms. Though the acreage that was leased to, or otherwise possessed by the United States was only 1,628 acres, the full extent of the range fan and safety buffer encompassed 2,629 acres.

There were no buildings or improvements other than a spotting tower. Troops were encamped at the Port Angeles Fair Grounds/Conservation Corps Camp. Records indicate the range consisted of a single firing line, with firing to the south into the hilly and mountainous terrain. Firing occurred at direct stationary and moving targets (targets and tanks pulled across the range using cables) and indirect firing using coordinates. In April 1944, the range was declared excess and all leases and permits were canceled, returning the land to its original owners.

In August 1948, two fatalities occurred at the site when a 37mm shell exploded inside downed timber that was cut at the former range. Immediately after the deaths, the Army completed an explosive hazard clearance operation of the area suspected to be contaminated. On May 7, 1949, a Certificate of Clearance was issued for approximately 775 acres that had been cleared of dangerous/explosive material. Additional clearances of the PACR occurred in 1952, 1955, 1956, and 1957. During the 1950s, signs were posted warning the public of dangers from munitions and explosive materials at the site. In the early 1960s, 652 acres deemed to be contaminated were purchased by the United States. In 1968, 621 acres of the 652 acres were transferred to the City of Port Angeles by quitclaim deed. The remaining lands were transferred to a private individual.

As stated above, historical site activities at the former PACR included munitions use. Areas potentially impacted by munitions-related activities were identified through a phased investigation process under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). These areas were investigated during the Remedial Investigation (RI) and the original PACR Munitions Response Site (MRS) boundaries were refined into three informal MRS boundaries based on different levels of risk as determined by the type and distribution of potential Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) and Munitions Debris (MD) within each area. These three informal MRS boundaries are identified in the 2015 Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Report.

In 2018, as part of the reevaluation of the site and deed provisions, the original PACR Complex MRS was programmatically divided into three MRSs (MRS-1, MRS-2, and MRS-3), replacing the informal RI/FS MRS boundaries. Each MRS is discussed further below.

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The purpose of establishing and maintaining an Administrative Record is twofold. First, it establishes a record containing the documents that form the basis for selecting the response action. Second, it meets the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) requirement for public involvement in determining the selected response alternative. An Administrative Record is required for all Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) projects at which removal actions are performed or at which a Remedial Investigation is performed.

The Administrative Record file contains documents providing the basis for decisions made on the project, and includes information such as relevant work plans, reports, decision documents, copies of regulations, and copies of press releases and fact sheets. The Administrative Record file is located and maintained at or near the site in a local information repository. This local information repository can be a public library, law enforcement office, city hall, school, or other location with easy public access.

The Administrative Record file is available at the following locations:

 

Port Angeles Main Library                                     USACE-Kansas City District                         

2210 S Peabody St                                                  Administrative Records                     

Port Angeles, WA 98362                                          635 Federal Building                                      

(360) 417-8500                                                         601 E. 12th Street                               

                                                                                  Kansas City, MO 64106-2824

 

 

 

Munitions Response Site 1

MRS-1 consists of 619 acres of the 621 acres of City of Port Angeles Property covered by the deed transfer. During the RI, five MEC items and 147 MD items were found in a 105-acre area associated with a target range and impact areas. This 105-acre area is located wholly within MRS-1. MRS-1 is being addressed by a Time-Critical Removal Action (TCRA) in accordance with the deed restrictions between the United States and the City of Port Angeles.

Munitions Response Site 2

MRS-2 consists of a 2,007-acre area where no evidence of military activity, MEC, MD, or munitions constituents (MC) release was identified during the RI, and the adjacent Olympic National Park (ONP) property. The ONP property was not physically investigated. However, based on the RI results and historical documents, there is no evidence this area was associated with the target range.  Therefore, MEC exposure pathways are considered incomplete in MRS-2.  Based on the absence of MEC, all MC exposure pathways are likely incomplete in MRS-2. As a result, no CERCLA action is warranted, and accordingly no remedy is required.

Munitions Response Site 3

MRS-3 consists of the area where a right-of-entry (ROE) could not be obtained during the RI. However, MEC and MD were recovered adjacent to MRS-3 during the investigation. Based on the results obtained adjacent to MRS-3 and the available historic information, there is a potential for MEC explosive hazard risk within MRS-3. USACE will continue to seek access from the property owner to investigate the area to determine the actual risk.

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