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Quote of the Day - There are things that go boom in the night. - Passcal

Watch Where You Walk - It Could Blow Up

Here's sneak peek at a sobering set of facts: removing unexploded munitions and hazardous waste found so far on 15 million acres of closed U.S. military ranges could take up to 330 years at the current rate of spending, according to congressional auditors.

There are 39 million acres in all where unexploded munitions could be.

In a not-yet released report to members of Congress, the Government Accounting Office said the Department of Defense has not yet assessed three-fifths of the 2,307 potentially contaminated sites identified as of September 2002 and has finished cleaning up only one percent of them.

Some of these areas have already been redeveloped for homes and parks. Boom!

But there could be many more sites with contamination, according to the GAO. Though the Navy and Air Force examined their sites, the Army had only looked at 14 percent of its installations, or 105 ranges, as of last year, the GAO said.

If you're wondering whether you live or work on one of these sites, you can look at the list.

As if you didn't feel good about it already, an anonymous government source said the Army plans to add another 500 sites to the list.

What's there? The biggest contaminants that have been found are TNT, RDXand HMX explosives, perchlorate used in rocket fuels and white phosphorus. TNT and RDX are possible human carcinogens; HMX causes potential liver and central nervous system damage, animal studies suggest; perchlorate can cause thyroid disorders; white phosphorus can damage reproductivity, the liver, heart and kidney.

Make sure you click on the HMX link - it's a web site created by a 10th grader as part of his science project.

The Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the cleanup. They just don't have enough money to finish the cleanup anytime soon.

Things are so bad that even the detailed assessment of these sites won't be finished until 2012.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, January 18, 2004

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