OPERATIONAL RANGE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (ORAP)
Fort Jackson and the South Carolina National Guard are participating in ORAP, a multi-phase program being conducted at military installations nationwide. The purpose of this proactive program is to assess the potential for ammunition chemicals to migrate off ranges. Early identification of a potential release allows the Army to take measures, when necessary, to protect human health and the environment.
Testing on Fort Jackson and McCrady Training Center found traces of Royal Demolition Explosive (RDX) in water taken from wells near the installation’s southern boundary. RDX is a man-made chemical found in ammunition, but it does not pose an explosive risk when found in water. Further sampling determined that RDX was present in some off-post wells. Public meetings were held in 2013, 2014, and 2015 to share the results and response actions.
Multiple investigations were conducted, both on-post and off-post, in an effort to locate the contamination source. They included historical records reviews, monitoring well installation, unexploded ordnance walkover surveys, and sampling of surface soil, subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water. The investigation results indicate that the RDX in off-post wells is the result of historical training activities. Fort Jackson is currently conducting a feasibility study/engineering evaluation of alternate water sources for private residences impacted by RDX groundwater contamination.
The Army is monitoring residential wells in the affected area on a periodic basis. The frequency of sampling varies depending on the location and levels of explosive contaminants detected. The latest round of annual sampling was conducted the week of May 28, 2019.
The Army is also providing whole-house filtration systems to residents whose drinking water contains RDX at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifetime health risk advisory level of 2.0 µg/L. EPA defines the lifetime health risk level as the concentration in drinking water that is not expected to cause any non-carcinogenic adverse health effects over a lifetime of exposure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get my well sampled?
Homeowners in the affected area may get their water sampled by completing a Right of Entry (ROE) form and mailing it to the address on the form.
What are the health effects of RDX?
Click on the fact sheet below for more information.
Is RDX still being used and, if so, is there an alternative?
RDX is a component of hand grenades and a few other munitions that are currently used to train soldiers. There are no alternatives that provide a realistic experience for our young men and women. Based on our investigations, the RDX in off-post wells is not from our current hand grenade training, but is the result of historical training activities, possibly as early as the 1940s. Despite this, to ensure the safety of future generations, we are treating the soil at our current hand grenade range with lime. Studies have shown that raising the pH of the soil, through the application of lime, significantly reduces the amount of RDX leaving the range.
Where are the wells containing RDX located?
Click on the links below for maps showing the location of wells with RDX detections. The residential detections are not shown to protect homeowners’ privacy.
For more information, contact Fort Jackson’s Environmental Management Branch Chief at (803) 751-6858.