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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Military construction proposed in area near Latte-period site

The Department of Defense plans to dig and drill around an archeologically rich area within the Navy property in Santa Rita, which has been marked as the site of military buildup-related projects.

According to the latest Programmatic Agreement memo released Tuesday, geotechnical and topographic surveys will be conducted in the target area as part of the project design studies for eight earth-covered magazines and one ordnance pad within the bounds of Naval Base Guam Ordnance Annex and Orote Point.

“This effort may also require unexploded ordnance/munitions and explosives of concern removal,” the memo states.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command on Tuesday opened the public review and commenting period for the latest PA memo. The commenting process, which ends on April 26, provides an opportunity for all members of the community to participate in the consultation process required under the National Historic Preservation Act.

“This PA Memo presents information to allow the public to provide comments on the DoD’s identification and evaluation of historic properties within the project’s area of potential effect, as well as the DoD’s determination of effect,” NAVFAC said.

\ Existing research and reference materials indicate the presence of several historic properties in the vicinity of the project area. NAVFAC, for example, identified West Bonya, a Latte period site that is home to seven Latte sets, an associated retaining wall, several basalt mortars or lusong and a surface artifact scatter.

“Radio carbon samples collected from subsurface excavations reveal a date range of AD 1285 – AD 1435,” NAVFAC said.

While the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, NAVFAC said it is not within affected area.

The property survey project, according to the memo, will include “vegetation trimming for the purpose of accessing geotechnical and land survey study areas, placing geotechnical borings (via auger) and manual excavation to investigate existing structures; as well as placement of survey markers (wooden stake hubs and/or rebar) for topographic land survey support.”

A topographic survey involves mapping all surface features and depicting the natural features and elevations.

“Geotechnical work generally entails drilling borings with a truck-mounted drill rig using 8-inch diameter augers or pipe casing with water or air rotary drilling. Boring depths will vary, but they are expected to range from 13 – 115 feet (4 – 35 meters),” the memo said.

“Samples from subsurface soil/rock materials are collected from borings for laboratory analysis. After completion of sampling, borings are filled with grout. Samples of the soil cover of existing structures will be excavated and backfilled after the sample area has been examined.”


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