In June 2012, Weston Solutions Inc. resume cleaning up Camp Bonneville, a former military training post about six miles north of Camas.
One month earlier, Board of County Commissioners approved a $7.6 million agreement with the international company that operates from 60 locations, including Seattle and its headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Clark County sought a new contractor and accepted ownership of the 3,840-acre former military post in 2011 after the U.S. Army agreed to provide the funding for the next phase of the cleanup, with the understanding that additional funding will be needed to complete all work at the site.
The ongoing work involves removing munitions of explosive concern and other hazardous materials left over from 85 years of military training.
Weston will clear Camp Bonneville’s central valley floor and complete a 50-acre pilot study on the property’s western slopes.
The corporation will have until June 2014 to complete the two tasks.
The Washington State Department of Ecology continues to regulate site cleanup.
In 2006, Clark County approved an initial funding agreement with the Army that provided a fixed amount, $28 million, to clean up the property. The county sought additional funding when the nature and cost of the cleanup became far more extensive and expensive than initially estimated.
The county’s agreements with the Army continue to shield the county from financial responsibility for the cleanup.
Long term, the county expects to use a portion of Camp Bonneville as a regional park.
Please – no trespassing.
For more than a decade, Clark County consistently has said Camp Bonneville will not open for public use until the property is safe.
For this reason, Camp Bonneville remains closed. A perimeter fence surrounds the site because of the danger posed by unexploded ordnance after decades of military training. Hundreds of munitions of explosive concern have been located and detonated, but an unknown number remain.
Warning signs have been placed at gates, along the perimeter fence and at various spots inside the site. These signs mean precisely what they say. For your own safety, please do not trespass on this property.
Background on Camp Bonneville and cleanup
Camp Bonneville is located in southeastern Clark County, Washington, about 12 miles east of Vancouver and seven miles north of the Columbia River. It was established in 1909 as a drill field and rifle range for Vancouver Barracks and has been used primarily as a training camp for various branches of the military. The property is largely undeveloped; more than half of its six square miles is forested.
Since the U.S. Army closed Camp Bonneville in 1995, the 3,840-acre property has captured the imagination of hikers, equestrians, parks planners, wildlife enthusiasts, campers, Native American groups and many others.
After the Army closed the facility along with several others nationwide, the property was selected for transfer and reuse by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). On October 3, 2006, after ten years of dialog and negotiation with the Army and the state Department of Ecology, the Board of Clark County Commissioners accepted transfer of property ownership from the Army to the county. The county then transferred ownership to the Bonneville Conservation Restoration & Renewal Team LLC (BCRRT), an organization that for several years managed a team of contractors with expertise in removing hazardous waste and unexploded ordnance.
The cleanup has been and will continue to be performed to specifications set by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The Army initially agreed to provide $28 million to pay for the cleanup and related insurance and recently agreed to provide another $20 million to pay for a cleanup that is far more expensive than earlier estimates.