The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) Interagency Data Management Working Group recently reached a major milestone in developing transfer guidance for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). Under FUSRAP, USACE performs remediation of sites before handing them back to LM for long-term stewardship. With two agencies administering a single program, communication and common expectations are key.
Two decades ago, when USACE and DOE first established their respective roles and responsibilities in administering FUSRAP, it would have been hard to imagine how much technological advances would come to increase the depth, breadth, and complexity of data collected for sites.
To keep pace with the evolution in technology and how records are created and kept, USACE and LM created the Data Management Working Group (DMWG) in 2016. The DMWG had three goals: 1) establish a common understanding of agency- and district-specific data and records practices and requirements; 2) establish methods to ensure accurate transfer of data; and 3) establish a timeline for data and records transfer.
As the group’s collaboration continued, it became clear that there was a need for a centralized guidance document to ensure that FUSRAP data transfers seamlessly from USACE to LM. Addressing that need, the group completed a Joint Information Transition Guidance for the FUSRAP this February.
The group’s efforts revealed some key takeaways about how the two agencies deal with the storage of information differently. Both LM’s and USACE’s internal records management processes are outlined in the new guidance document, showing the path of information from creation to retention. Accessible FUSRAP records and data are essential to both agencies for problem analysis, geospatial environmental mapping, reporting, reference, and responding to inquiries from the public.
The new document also provides clear guidance for transferring information from USACE to LM during FUSRAP site transition, a process that takes place over the course of several years after all remedial actions are completed by the USACE. The guidance will foster smooth site transfers from USACE to LM, which will save taxpayer dollars and preserve the legacy of the FUSRAP sites.
To accomplish the FUSRAP mission in an effective and efficient manner, close collaboration between LM and USACE is essential. Interagency working groups, like DMWG, have proven their worth in facilitating communication between the two agencies. Together, LM and USACE aim to build on past successes, while jointly continuing to improve FUSRAP. This work has been presented at conferences and joint meetings.