File photo of an unexploded 40mm grenade.

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This website provides information about the work being done to address potentially hazardous military munitions remaining in former military training areas in Hawaii.

U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii is conducting this work to improve public safety and reduce the risk these munitions pose to present and future users of the area.

Stay Alert!

Never touch, move or remove any suspicious items you encounter on or in the ground. Mark the area if possible, and call 911.

  • RECOGNIZE — when you may have encountered a munition
  • RETREAT — do not touch, move or disturb it, but leave the area
  • REPORT — call 911 and advise the police what you saw and where you saw it

Site History

Under the Military Munitions Response Program, there are currently two munitions response sites on Oahu undergoing further investigation:

  • Beach Assault Training Area
  • Makua Training Area transferred

These sites are located in the northwest portion of the Island of Oahu, 28 miles northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.  Makua has been used since the late 1930s as a maneuver and impact area by the military. Use of this area has included various types of munitions such as artillery, mortars, aerial gunnery, guided missiles, small arms; and demolition training.

Documents relating to both munitions response sites are available at the Mililani and Waianae public libraries.

Beach Assault Training Area

The Beach Assault Training Area munitions response site is comprised of approximately 18.8 acres and is located within the boundary of the Makua Military Reservation to the west of Farrington Highway.

The site is adjacent to the Makua Training Area munitions response site. Both munitions response sites share a similar history of operational activities and previous investigations as described above.

Site inspection field activities conducted for this munitions response site included 0.92 acres of visual survey and collection of six surface soil and sediment samples; underground surveys were not performed at this area.

Makua Training Area

The Makua Training Area munitions response site is a transferred site (located on property not controlled by the Department of Defense) comprised of approximately 856 acres that extends west and north from the Makua Military Reservation boundary.

This area was used for a variety of training from the 1930s until approximately 1990, including amphibious assaults on the beach during World War II.

Munitions related items have been found in the Makua area during previous unexploded ordnance clearance activities. A portion of this property was transferred to the State of Hawaii in 1990 and is part of the Kaena Point State Park.

Site inspection field activities conducted for this munitions response site included 13 acres of visual survey and collection of 25 surface soil and sediment samples. Additionally, 7.6 acres of underground surveys were performed at this site.

Project Information

The Military Munitions Response Program was established by Congress under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program to address unexploded ordnance or UXO, discarded military munitions, and munitions constituents potentially present on former military installations.

This program was developed to manage the environmental, health, and safety issues presented by unexploded ordnance, discarded military munitions and munitions constituents. Along with meeting the statutory goals of the Defense Environmental Restoration Program, the Military Munitions Response Program is designed to enhance understanding of the nature of munitions response sites and manage response activities more effectively.

Range & Site Inventory

The Army has completed the range and site inventory. Identified ranges and sites have been evaluated to determine their eligibility for the Military Munitions Response Program, and site-specific data elements have been entered into a comprehensive site tracking and management database.

This inventory fulfilled the requirement of a Preliminary Assessment under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also referred to as CERCLA.

Site Inspections

The second step under CERCLA is the site inspection. The Military Munitions Response Program site inspection program for active or former installations is a comprehensive effort to collect historical range and site use information, along with unexploded ordnance, discarded military munitions, and munitions constituents release data for all eligible sites.

The site inspection phase will collect information to determine if additional actions are required at each site and what they are (i.e., further study, immediate response action or no further action). The data also allows the Army to refine costs and prioritization for each site.

The Military Munitions Response Program coordinates site inspections with all stakeholders (Environmental Protection Agency, states, tribes, Restoration Advisory Boards and landowners) throughout the project. Key milestones include completing a historical records review document, a site inspection work plan for field efforts and a final report.

Next Steps

Recommendations in the Site Inspection Report generally include one or more of the following: (1) further investigation; (2) immediate interim action; or (3) no further action. If discarded military munitions or unexploded ordnance were found during the site inspection in areas where they pose an immediate explosive safety hazard to residents or workers, the site is recommended for an interim action, either a Time Critical Removal Action or a Non-Time Critical Removal Action.

These actions usually involve fencing off the hazard or removing the explosive items causing the immediate hazard. Following the interim action, sites generally move into further investigation to complete all actions outlined in CERCLA.

Under CERCLA, the step after the site inspection is the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study. During the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, detailed information is obtained about the site to allow the Army and stakeholders to recommend an appropriate remedy for the site.

Following implementation of the remedy, most sites that had unexploded ordnance or discarded military munitions will require land use controls because no current technologies have been proven 100% effective at removing munitions.

Safety

Visitors to former military sites in Hawaii should be familiar with and strictly follow while enjoying these areas.

3 “Rs” of Munitions Safety

1. Recognize it: Munitions come in many shapes and sizes:

  • Some will look new while others will look old and rusty.
  • Some will look like bullets or bombs and can be small or large in size.
  • Some will look like pointed metal pipes, soda cans, small balls, or even an old car muffler.

2. Retreat from it: If you found something that could be a munition, leave it alone and leave the area. It does not matter how old, rusty, new, or shiny the item may look, munitions are dangerous and could injure or kill you. Don’t take any chances – leave it alone.

3. Report it: If you found something that could be a munition, report what you saw and where you saw it to 911. Reporting it can save another person from injury or death. Report anything you think could be a munition.

Training and practice munitions may also be hazardous. These munitions can contain a type of spotting charge that simulates explosive impact. The spotting charge can vary from a few grains of black powder to several pounds of high explosive. NEVER assume that “training” or “practice” means a munition item is safe to touch. Even the least sensitive items may explode if exposed to careless and improper handling.

Regardless of their age, munition items retain their hazardous and dangerous nature. Leave the handling of munitions to the trained experts who can assess the item and make the area safe.

Visit https://aec.army.mil/index.php/restore/MMRP for more information about safety around possible munition items.