Defense Cleanup Claims Exaggerated, Says GAO

September 12, 2001


The US Army Corps of Engineers has been exaggerating its cleanup claims for formerly used defense sites (FUDS), says a Sept. 6, 2001, General Accounting Office report. At the end of FY 2000, the Corps claimed completion of 2382 cleanup projects. However, GAO found that 57% of these had been closed following a study or administrative action -- no cleanup work was done.

In fact, GAO found that only about 32% of FUDS projects that required cleanup work have been completed, and these were the cheapest and least technologically challenging. The Corps estimates that remaining cleanups will require about 70 years and $13 billion to complete. However, GAO discovered at least 200 training ranges not on the Corps' list that may require cleanup, which would further increase expected costs for the program.

Across the country, 9171 FUDS may require cleanup of soil, groundwater, storage tanks, or leftover ordnance. See Appendix I of the GAO report for specific sites. See Appendix II for details on specific projects.