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Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) FAQ’s

 

What is UXO?

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is any type of military ammunition or explosive ordnance which has failed to function as intended.

In Australia, UXO contamination is generally the result of military training activities. In the past large numbers of ranges and training areas were approved for military use, and there are now many sites around Australia which are affected by UXO.

Western Australia in particular is heavily contaminated with UXO compared with all other Australian states.

Visit http://www.defence.gov.au/UXO/What/Default.asp for further information.

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Where is UXO found?

The Department of Defence website provides information to the public on land that may be potentially affected by UXO. Visit http://www.defence.gov.au/UXO/Where/Default.asp for further information.

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What do the UXO potential categories mean?

The residual UXO potential in Western Australia has been categorised into three levels which include other, slight or substantial potential UXO contamination areas. These categories refer to the likely occurrence of UXO in these areas.

Substantial:

This property is on a site where records confirm there is a history of military activities that include impact areas, demolition sites and areas of heavy explosive ordnance dumping. Numerous UXO or heavy residual fragmentation has been found in the surrounding area in the past.

Slight:

This property is on a site where records confirm there is a history of military activities that have resulted in residual UXO. A possibility exists that UXO may still be found on this site.

Other:

This property is on a site where records confirm the area was used for military training but do not confirm that the site was used for live firing. No specific UXO contaminated site has been identified in the area and no UXO have been recovered from the site. However, a possibility
still exists that UXO may be found on this site.

Visit http://www.defence.gov.au/UXO/What/Categories.asp for further information.

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I have a property that is a potential UXO contaminated site. What do I need to do?

If the UXO potential category is Substantial:

Prior to a change of land use or earthworks, an assessment survey for UXO should be undertaken to determine if a remediation survey is required. This includes for subdivision, building works such as extensions and incidental uses (including outbuildings, verandas, swimming pools,
carports, patios and storage sheds) and demolition. If no evidence of UXO is found, no further action is required. If evidence of UXO is found, a remediation survey should then be completed to locate and remove any UXO.

You need to engage a UXO contractor to undertake this work. The Department of Defence has established the Defence Environment and Heritage Panel, which includes contractors for UXO and derelict explosive ordnance assessment and management. The list of UXO contractors on the panel can be found under Category F, F2 at this link: http://www.defence.gov.au/estatemanagement/support/DEHP/WhoToEngage.asp

If the UXO potential category is Slight or Other:

No specific UXO contaminated site has been identified in the area and no UXO have been recovered from the site. A possibility still exists that UXO may be found on this site, however there is no requirement to assess or search the site for UXO.

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Where do I find a UXO contractor?

You need to engage a UXO contractor to undertake this work. The Department of Defence has established the Defence Environment and Heritage Panel, which includes contractors for UXO and derelict explosive ordnance assessment and management. The list of UXO contractors on the panel can be found under Category F, F2 at this link: http://www.defence.gov.au/estatemanagement/support/DEHP/WhoToEngage.asp

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My property has already been developed. Why is the UXO potential category substantial?

These areas are densely populated with UXO and were developed prior to the requirement for a formal UXO survey to be undertaken. While these areas have been exposed to extensive and repeated surface disturbance which can be deemed to be clear of surface contamination, the sub-surface
of these areas is highly likely to contain UXO. It is estimated from the recovery rate of UXO located within these areas, that many forms of unexploded ordnance remain undisturbed. As a result, prior to a change of land use or earthworks, an assessment survey for UXO should be undertaken to determine if a remediation survey is required.

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What do I do if I find an item of UXO?

Contact police if a suspicious item that may be UXO is found on the property. Do not touch or disturb it. Visit www.defence.gov.au/uxo for further information.

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Where did the UXO data come from?

The UXO data for Western Australia represents information gathered from interviews with military and ex-military personnel, war diaries and other sources to indicate areas that have been used by the military and allied forces for training and testing purposes. Areas that have been subjected to hostile bombardment by the Japanese during WWII are also included in this dataset.

These areas indicate either the gazetted extents of ranges or the believed extents of the range as determined from other sources. These ranges  may contain pockets of military ammunition or explosive ordnance (UXO) which has failed to function as intended within them. The data provided
clarifies the identification of the areas as those used by the military, allies and enemies for training and other purposes that may contain areas of UXO contamination.

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