On Sept. 9, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Louis District, escorted the director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management during a visit to the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) site at Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP) in Middletown, Iowa.
IAAAP’s deputy commander, Gifford Haddock, gave a briefing on current activities and IAAAP’s mission to Carmelo Melendez, DOE-LM’s director, and Gwen Hooten, DOE-LM’s team lead for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and FUSRAP.
Part of the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), the St. Louis District (MVS) is one of five USACE districts currently with a FUSRAP mission. Executive officer Maj. Nicholas Copeland and others from the district showed Melendez and his staff around the FUSRAP site.
“FUSRAP and DOE-LM have developed a good partnership,” said Mike Kessler, the FUSRAP project manager at IAAAP. “It was a pleasure working with them to arrange the site visit and an honor to show Mr. Melendez the outstanding work MVS is conducting for IAAAP, the Army and the nation.”
During DOE-LM’s recent visit to the site, Kessler explained the site history, ongoing remedial actions and USACE’s soil-sorting process at the site under FUSRAP.
During its use as an Army facility, portions of IAAAP were occupied by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Originally, IAAAP was known as the Iowa Ordnance Plant (IOP) where munitions were produced from 1941 until August 1945 for World War II and again from 1949 to the present day.
In 1947, IOP was selected as the first production facility for the manufacturing of explosives components for weapons under the AEC, and, from 1947 to 1975, portions of the IAAAP facility were under AEC control for research, development and production of materials and components as part of America’s early atomic program. The AEC-operated portions of the plant were commonly known collectively as the Burlington Atomic Energy Commission Plant (BAECP).
Currently, the Army and USACE are performing cleanup simultaneously on IAAAP. The Army is remediating contaminants resulting from munitions production under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) while USACE is remediating contaminants resulting from the nation’s early atomic energy program under FUSRAP.
USACE’s FUSRAP work at the site focuses on cleaning up soils and structures that were contaminated as a result of World War II munitions production and AEC operations.
“It was great seeing the Middletown site at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant firsthand,” Melendez said later. “There’s no substitute for getting out into the field to understand a site. Seeing the complexity of ongoing remediation efforts there has only increased my appreciation of USACE as a valued partner in protecting human health and the environment.”
The trip served as an opportunity for DOE-LM to learn more about the history of the site, see USACE’s remediation activities at the site and continue to build the working relationship between USACE and DOE-LM on the path to site transfer after the completion of USACE’s remediation of AEC legacy waste at the site. While the Army will likely maintain ownership and operation of the property, DOE-LM will conduct five-year reviews and annual inspections as well as maintain records after transfer from USACE, expected in 2026.