Military Munitions Response Program – Concord, CA

Project Details
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Project Value

Project Duration


Services Provided

Environmental restoration, including a remedial investigation

Unexploded Ordinance Detection

Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO), located in California’s East San Francisco Bay region, is the U.S. military’s primary West Coast common-user ammunition terminal charged with safely and efficiently processing, shipping, and receiving military cargo—including ordnance—to support the Pacific Command area of operation. The 6,641-acre installation is the site of a 1944 explosion of two ships that were loaded with 5,000 tons of munitions. The explosion scattered munitions and debris up to 12,000 feet away, impacting the land and the water.

Under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), Parsons conducted environmental restoration services in a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at MOTCO to determine and evaluate cleanup options for military munitions and explosive debris at three previously identified munitions response sites (MRSs) resulting from the 1944 explosion and from other munitions handling and demilitarization activities. The MRSs in this project covered diverse topographies, including dry land, marshes, and underwater. For this project, we integrated standard investigation approaches with cutting-edge technologies, including digital geophysical mapping and underwater anomaly investigation using an electromagnet.

First-Time Use of Electromagnet

Two methods were employed to survey land and water for munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and munitions debris:

  • Over dry land, marshes, and shallow water, a helicopter outfitted with a geophysical magnetometer mapped anomaly densities.
  • Where the water was deeper, a boat-towed magnetometer and sidescan sonar were used.

Once the water was surveyed, we used a barge with a crane-mounted electromagnet to recover underwater metallic debris and potential MEC. The crane swept the electromagnet over the bottom of the bay in areas identified during the geophysical mapping. This was the first time an underwater electromagnet had been used in an MMRP RI/FS, and the technique was proven to be safer and more efficient than traditional approaches.

We have a proven track record in munitions response and environmental remediation. The environmental restoration resulting from this program creates a safer place for the U.S. Army to conduct operations and paves the way for future activities at MOTCO.

Featured May 2014/Updated Aug 2017

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