US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center

Training Range Environmental Evaluation Characterization System

Forecasting, Modeling and Risk Assessment of Firing Ranges

Published Nov. 19, 2012
TREECS assessments help to identify and avoid dangerous munitions pollution in the environment.

TREECS assessments help to identify and avoid dangerous munitions pollution in the environment.

Training Range Environmental Evaluation Characterization System (TREECS) is a user-friendly system of tools designed to assess the risk of munitions constituents (MC), such as high explosives and heavy metals, escaping the firing range and being absorbed into surface media such as sediment, surface water, and groundwater, thus helping facilities meet protective health and environmental compliance goals.

Helping Ranges Meet Compliance Goals

TREECS assessments help determine range management strategies for a wide range of military and civilian firing ranges, allowing the range to be operated as a manageable resource.

Save Time and Money with Two Levels of Assessment

Two Models

TREECS offers two tiers of capabilities for assessments of models, generating savings in cost and time.

  • Tier 1 capabilities consist of screening-level methods that require minimal data input and assume steady-state conditions, so they may be easily and quickly applied to assess the concentrations of MC from the range in surface materials and the likelihood of potential problems.
  • Tier 2 capabilities allow for far more flexibility in modeling applications and require more detailed site data and skill to apply, providing more accurate assessments for better range management strategies.

Six Databases

TREECS offers four chemical constituent databases for use in analysis. Chemical and physical data are pulled transparently from these databases and are made available for use by system models. However, most of the models in the TREECS system allow the user to override any chemical or physical properties obtained from the selected constituent database in representative graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

TREECS also offers two databases for information on health benchmarks. While most models allow users to override properties obtained from the selected database in GUIs, health benchmarks are not accessible from GUIs. The only means to change the benchmarks from the databases or use one’s own health benchmarks is to create a health benchmark database using the Benchmark Database Editor.

Read more about the models, including assumptions, and databases at the TREECS website.

Success Stories

The Army’s Operational Range Assessment Program (ORAP) strives to keep ranges open and available for training and testing while protecting human health and the environment. The program consists of two phases: a qualitative assessment (Phase I), which categorizes the range as either “unlikely” or “inconclusive”, and a quantitative assessment (Phase II). A range categorized in Phase I as “unlikely” requires no further action and is placed into a five-year review cycle, but ranges categorized as “inconclusive” require a follow-up Phase II assessment. TREECS supports the needs of ORAP Phase II assessments by

  • Estimating the MC residue mass loading rate to the range as mass per time, given range use
  • Estimate the soil concentration on the range area of interest and the mass fluxes off the range to other media (i.e. surface water and groundwater), given the mass loading rate of MC
  • Estimate the media concentrations at points of interest off-range, given the mass fluxes to other media
  • Determine if protective health benchmark concentrations are exceeded, given the media concentrations at points of interest off the range

Toolkit Overview

Hydro-Geo-Chemical Toolkit (HGCT)

The Hydro-Geo-Chemical Toolkit (HGCT) in TREECS provides tools for estimating soil properties, soil erosion rates, hydrologic variables, and Darcy velocity for either point estimates or spatially varying data associated with GIS map files. The HGCT spatial functions require all grid files to be at the same spatial extent and grid cell resolution. Input parameters include:

  • Soil erosion rates, computed using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)
  • Soil texture (e.g., loam, sandy loam, etc.), used to estimate soil properties of porosity, volumetric moisture content, dry bulk density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and USLE erodibility K factor
  • Historical daily precipitation and air temperature data, used with the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) curve number method to estimate annual averages for precipitation, rainfall, number of rainfall events, runoff rate, infiltration rate, and evapotranspiration rate
  • Saturated hydraulic conductivity, used with information on well heads and distances to compute Darcy velocity

Geographic Information System (GIS) Tools

Geographic information system (GIS) tools provide a basic set of GIS analysis capabilities for supporting the spatial option within the HGCT. The GIS tools support the ESRI Shapefile, Grid File, and Image File formats. GIS features include the following:

  • Create an area of interest Shapefile
  • Convert a Shapefile to a grid file
  • Using an existing grid file, extract a grid file subset with the same grid cell resolution to eliminate unnecessary areas from the analyses
  • Using an existing grid file, create a new grid file with a different grid cell resolution
  • Generate a new grid file using basic map calculations and arithmetic functions
  • Measure lengths and areas for input into various HGCT data fields

Learn more about the system of tools at the TREECS website.

ERDC Point of Contact
Questions about TREECS?
Contact: Dr. Billy E. Johnson
Email: Billy.E.Johnson@usace.army.mil
Phone: 601-634-3714