FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2007
NOAA National Ocean Service
Silver Spring, Maryland
(301) 713-3066 ext. 191
Lt. Col. John Williams
USARPAC Public Affairs
NOAA RELEASES REPORT ON HAWAII DISCARDED MILITARY MUNITIONS SITE SURVEY
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today released the results of a June 2006 survey of an underwater area off the Hawaiian island of Oahu where discarded military munitions are present. The survey of the area has verified the presence of munitions ranging from small arms projectiles to large-caliber artillery projectiles and naval gun ammunition. The survey was conducted by NOAA, with assistance from the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
No explosives or related compounds were detected in the fish samples taken during the survey. With the exception of copper, metal levels in sediment samples from the study area were low overall. Most munitions were covered with coral growth and provided some of the only refuge for fish on the otherwise uncolonized hard bottom.
The munitions were found in depths ranging from 24 feet to the maximum depth of the study area, 300 feet. Scientists did not detect the presence of the explosives cyclonite (RDX), trinitrotoluene (TNT), or tetryl during the sampling effort. A related munitions compound, dinitrotoluene (DNT), was detected in four sediment samples (three near munitions, one not associated with munitions).
During the two-week survey, requested and funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), scientists combed a five-square-nautical-mile area off Pokai Bay known as “Ordnance Reef” with sophisticated seafloor mapping and imaging equipment to determine the boundary of the munitions area and the presence or absence of munitions constituents, such as explosives and metals. The survey team deployed a remotely operated vehicle and specially trained scuba divers to collect water, fish and sediment samples for analysis by the university and two independent laboratories.
The results of the survey will serve as the basis for a DoD evaluation of the potential safety and environmental risks associated with the presence of munitions. The report may be viewed at ordnancereefsurvey.noaa.gov.
NOAA offices involved in the survey included the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, NOAA Office of Coast Survey, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Office of Special Projects and NOAA Fisheries Service’s Pacific Regional Office.
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On the Internet:
NOAA - noaa.gov
U.S. Army's Unexploded Ordnance Safety Education Program: www.denix.osd.mil/UXOSafety
Click here to download maps of the Ordnance Reef survey area. All maps courtesy NOAA.
Click here to view Ordnance Reef survey frequently asked questions.
Click here to view Ordnance Reef survey Report.
Click here to view Ordnance Reef survey appendices and tables.