The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) both have programs tasked with determining if military training and testing facilities present a risk to human health and the environment. DoD has established the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) and Operational Range Assessment Program (ORAP) that have requirements to perform site investigations. USEPA has become involved in the characterization of energetic residues on military training ranges and the potential for off-site migration through ongoing investigations of the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR).


The objectives of this demonstration/validation project were to promote scientifically defendable sampling and sample processing protocols for the characterization of energetic residues on military training ranges. The principal mechanism for meeting this objective was to inform potential users of the sampling and sample processing protocols developed under the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) projects ER-1155 and ER-1481. These sampling and sample processing protocols were promoted by:

  • Posting of Method 8330B on the Web
  • Performing two field demonstrations
  • Hosting workshops to promote the attributes of MULTI INCREMENT® sampling (MIS) and to highlight the laboratory modifications required for representative subsampling and analysis
  • Actively assisting commercial laboratories prepare for certification in Method 8330B
  • Demonstrating use of the MIS strategy at three MMRP Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS)
  • Assisting the South Pacific Division Corps of Engineers, USEPA Region 6, the Corps Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise, and the states of Texas, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona in the development of MIS strategies for several different types of MMRP FUDS
  • Developing guidance for the implementation of Method 8330B by the DoD Environmental Data Quality Workgroup (EDQW)
  • Accepting an MIS Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) project proposal.

Demonstration Results

The sample processing recommended in Method 8330B was demonstrated to be scientifically sound for obtaining representative subsamples. In the majority of cases, uncertainty among triplicate subsamples removed from soil samples over 1,200 g in mass was less than 10% relative standard deviation (RSD), and the average was within 10% relative percent difference (RPD) of the concentration obtained for the remainder of the sample.

In all cases, tighter tolerances were obtained for five MULTI INCREMENT samples as compared to 30 discrete samples for the calculation of upper confidence limits (UCL). That is, the calculation of 95% UCLs of the mean based on 30 randomly selected discrete samples produced a range of values often twice that derived from five MULTI INCREMENT samples and greater than the variation among the values established for 10 MULTI INCREMENT samples. Estimates of the 95% UCL of the mean based on only five discrete samples were either unreasonable or unreliable (unrepeatable), or both.

ProUCL, the statistical software, estimates of the UCLs of the mean based on 100 discrete samples were higher than:

  • Individual MULTI INCREMENT samples
  • 95% UCLs of the mean based on three or five MULTI INCREMENT samples
  • Often greater than twice the grand mean (concentration established for between 18 and 34 kg) estimated for the area sampled.

Examples of surface vegetation at a firing point (inset) and in and around a crater of an 81-mm mortar low-order detonation crater on an artillery impact range

Implementation Issues

The posting of Method 8330B on the Web addressed most of the issues initially expressed by potential stakeholders and end-users. Within 18 months of posting, commercial laboratory services became available, removing the only remaining limitation to full-scale implementation.