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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

EPA: Navy’s surface cleanup in Vieques has covered close to half of affected area

By The Star Staff


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday that to date the U.S. Navy has conducted surface clearance on the offshore island municipality of Vieques of some 4,606 acres out of an estimated area of over 9,500 acres, to which access is restricted due to the presence of munitions on the surface.


The Navy has spent close to $400 million on its activities in Vieques, where it is engaged in the clean-up of its former firing range and surroundings, with some $90 million contributed to the local economy, the EPA said.


Other milestones as of May 2024 include subsurface clearance of some 5,092 acres, including 31 miles of roads and beaches; location and destruction of some 134,388 munitions and explosives of concern; pickup and processing of some 8.7 million pieces of munitions potentially presenting an explosive hazard; and processing of over 19.5 million pounds of scrap metal generated through the aforementioned and other activities, with over 17.5 million pounds recycled.


The U.S. Navy is the lead federal agency conducting work at the former Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Area-Vieques Superfund site.


The Navy has divided work at the site between two programs: The Munitions Response Program (MRP) and the Installation Restoration Program (IRP).


All munitions-related work is carried out under the MRP. All typical chemical contamination investigations are covered by the IRP. Within the MRP, the site has been divided into multiple munitions response sites located in east and west Vieques.

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