JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Government contract crews checked out neighborhoods in the Green Mountain neighborhood in Jefferson County to determine if any leftover weapons are hiding underground.
The area is being investigated as part of the Department of Defense Munitions Response Program which began searches on the north slopes of Green Mountain in 2010.
Green Mountain was used for military artillery training from about 1912 to the late 1930s before it became land owned by the City of Lakewood and a popular hiking and biking location.
Last year, crews discovered about a dozen old explosives and shrapnel projectiles in Hayden Park. Now investigators want to determine if there are any hazardous items near homes of the Green Mountain and Mesa View Estates.
“It’s possible and that’s what we’re trying to find out,” John Kochefko, Ordnance and Explosive Safety Specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told CBS4.
After receiving permission from about 60 percent of homeowners, Kochefko said crews are in the process now of using metal detectors to locate subsurface metals. Crews mark each item of interest with yellow flags which littered at least one home’s front and backyards Tuesday morning.
“It can be anything,” Kochefko said. “Most of this is probably going to be nails or items associated with a house being there like utility lines.”
This is the first time crews are searching on private properties. Despite the fact no munitions or similar items were discovered when the neighborhood was developed in the 1970s-1990s, an investigation is underway to ensure the area is safe.
“I really don’t believe we’re going to find anything that poses an explosive safety hazard,” Kochefko told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Some homeowners told Werthmann they believe the project is a waste of tax payer dollars, but are giving crews permission anyway.
Kochefko said they will begin digging up marked areas in the coming weeks as long as they have permission from the property owner. Kochefko said homeowners would be asked to leave during the digging process to ensure their safety.
For more information about the Military Munitions Response Program, visit: http://www.asaie.army.mil/Public/ESOH/mmrp.html.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.