The U.S. Army will start construction of a $22 million explosion pond along the Bush River at Aberdeen Proving Ground next month.
The 60-acre, 150-foot deep Superpond is expected to be ready to test the endurance of submarine models during "near miss" explosions by March 1993, APG spokeswoman Barbara Filbert said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently finished itsreview of the Superpond plans after receiving no public comments about the proposal. The comment period ran from Jan. 17 to last Monday.
The corps' request for public comments was the third time citizenscould speak their minds on the plan. Last year, the Army accepted public comments at a community meeting. The Army received 16 statements.
Before the Superpond can begin operations, several more studies must be completed, including one assessing how explosions at the facility would affect bald eagles at the proving ground, Filbert said.
"We're optimistic here," Filbert said. "If everything goes as planned, construction is expected to start in mid-March."
The bald eaglestudy is being reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Filbert said. In addition, the Army is awaiting permits from the state Department of Natural Resources to use the Bush River for withdrawing and discharging water.
County residents and county administrators have voiced concern over how underwater explosions at the pond would affect area ecology and wildlife near the Chesapeake Bay. Residents andenvironmentalists questioned whether explosions at the pond would drive bald eagles away from the proving ground and disrupt water supplies of nearby homeowners.
The Army's Combat Systems Test Activity unit is expected to conduct about 40 tests a year. The tests would be conducted for the U.S. Navy.
The facility would be similar to the Army's $13 million Superbox project, completed recently at the proving ground. In Superbox, armored vehicles are put in a thick steel domeand blasted with ammunition to see how the vehicles would hold up under fire.