Authors: Jean C. Schumacher, Sean Myers, Thomas Laflin

Abstract: A GIS was developed to characterize the potential for groundwater contamination at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, Missouri. The plant has an extensive monitoring program that generates numerous data sets related to contamination at the plant. The problem confronting LCAAP was that all their data was spread to many places and organized in various formats. Lacking data organization, LCAAP had difficulty developing a comprehensive approach to investigations and remediation. With the GIS, project personnel can now access all spatially related information in one comprehensive GIS-based system.



I. Introduction

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) is located in Jackson County, Missouri, mostly within the eastern corporate boundary of Independence, Missouri, and 23 miles east of Kansas City, Missouri. LCAAP is an installation which manufactures small arms ammunition. Operations at the Installation include manufacturing, storage, test firing, waste treatment, and waste disposal. The installation is divided into 33 "areas" that contain approximately 75 suspected or confirmed contamination sites or solid waste management units (SWMUs). LCAAP was proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL) on October 15, 1984, with the final listing on July 22, 1987, effective August 21, 1987. LCAAP was listed on the NPL solely for silver concentrations, which exceeded drinking water standards in samples of ground water taken from Area 3 in the northwest corner of the plant.

There are approximately 300 monitoring wells located on LCAAP, of which 200 are sampled on a semi-annual basis as part of the ground water monitoring program. In addition, soils, surface water and ground water data have been collected throughout the installation using geoprobes, the site characterization analysis and penetrometer system (SCAPS), drill rigs, hand augers, and other various methods.

The Kansas City District of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (NWK) provides consultant and contracting services for LCAAP, and our contractor for the GIS project is Ecology and Environment, Inc., out of Buffalo, NY. The operating contractor at LCAAP, Olin Corporation, also provides some consultant and contracting services for LCAAP.

II. Role of a GIS-Based Data Management System

In 1997, LCAAP was trying to come to terms with several problems concerning data and data collection relative to their environmental program. These problems included:

Since there was often multiple contractors working in any given area, data retrieval was a challenge at best as several documents would have to be consulted in order to gain a complete picture of the data for a site. The different reporting styles and reporting mechanisms made this an even greater challenge. This lead to the regulatory community expressing their lack of faith in LCAAP's ability to form a complete picture of the contamination problems and also to voice their frustration in trying to pull all of the information into one place to better understand it themselves.

LCAAP turned to NWK with these problems. The GIS system was presented as the solution to address these problems. Since LCAAP was unfamiliar with GIS, NWK presented the option of having a very basic system developed and then adding onto the basic system if LCAAP decided that the system was useful. Taking the development in steps allowed us to show the usefulness of the GIS without a huge outlay of money at the start.

III. System Design and Implementation

Overall Implementation

The implementation of the lake City GIS was performed in several steps. This ensured good communication between the consultant and USACE. The first step was the design and planning of the system. During this step, E & E and USACE discussed the needs of the users, the applications that would service these needs and the structure of the overall system. The outcome of this process was a design of the Lake City GIS. The second step was the development of the database. This involved the compilation and processing of several CAD files supplied by Lake City and the incorporation of latitude/longitude text files that were created for the SCAPS sampling. In addition, historical sampling data were collected, compiled, processed, and ultimately integrated into the analytical database. The third step was to present and discuss a prototype version of the GIS. This proved to be very useful. With the prototype, USACE was able to see how the system would operate and provide comment. Several changes were made to the system after this step. The final step was system implementation and training.

System Design

With the proper planning and assessment of the user’s requirements, developing a design was easier to perform. Based on the user’s requirements it was obvious that the system had to accommodate several complex spatial and aspatial operations. For example, one of the spatial operations or applications was to construct contours based on analytical results. This could not be done without first developing another application; constructing and executing a complex aspatial query on the analytical database. Using these applications as examples, it was obvious that what was needed was 1.) a GIS that could perform complex spatial operations such as the one described above and 2.) a relational database that could effectively construct and execute queries on a fairly complex database structure. Other applications included in the system are:

It was decided that these applications were to be developed using components including:

Of course the primary challenge was to interface all of these components into one comprehensive system.

Interface Development

Interfacing system components is done at two levels. At one level it is necessary to "interface" the user. In other words, the system must include graphical interfaces so that users can enter information into the system. For example, one of the functions of the system was to allow a user to create a query that would be used against the analytical database. This would be done through a series of "forms" or graphical interfaces presented to the user. These forms were developed using the Visual Basic programming language.

At another level, it is necessary to interface the different components of the system or allow them to "talk" with one another. These are often called data interfaces. For example, the system was designed to allow the user to click on a point (a sampling location stored as a shapefile in ArcView) and automatically get the analytical data (stored in a Microsoft Access database) associated with that sampling point presented on the screen. This required that the ArcView system and the Microsoft Access database be dynamically linked with one another. This was accomplished by developing data interfaces. Several types of data interfaces were developed for the Lake City GIS. The following text provides an overall description of these interfaces.

There are essentially three types of data interfaces used for this system. They are: Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE); Open Database Connectivity (ODBC); and Standard Query Language (SQL). DDE is a relatively unused interfacing technology whose use will continue to diminish as more component based systems (COM, CORBA) are developed. For this system however, DDE was used to transfer information such as a sampling location ID to a VB application that subsequently queried the Access database and returned the information to the user. For more complex queries it was necessary to rely more on ODBC and SQL statements. Applications to query the analytical database, perform two-dimensional spatial interpolation, and database reporting were all performed using these data interfaces and not DDE.


The system has been implemented and is working as designed. Users are able to use the system to integrate on-going sampling activities and by analyzing the data, derive information that helps them characterize the site. Though the ArcView GIS software package can be somewhat daunting to learn, personnel at the USCAE and Lake City are able to use all of the functionality of the system in addition to the added applications developed by the consultant.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant GIS is an example of how a proprietary system such as ArcView can be effectively integrated with more Common Off the Shelf Software (COTS) such as Microsoft Access and Visual Basic.

IV. Benefits

The primary benefit derived from the GIS is access to a centralized data repository, eliminating redundant and obsolete data sets. Easier access to information has resulted in the preparation of a more comprehensive and complete picture of the LCAAP sites, and the GIS has provided the ability to present the information graphically.

The establishment of standards for data collection, processing, and integration has insured that there will be consistency in the data entered into the database, making the interpretation of the data much less complex. The use of the system by contractors has enabled them to better identify potential data gaps and to better plan future work.

The GIS has proven to be a valuable tool for presentations. The use of graphics to illustrate a point is much preferred over the use of tables or other numerical presentations of data which require a greater amount of time to interpret.

V. Future Direction

The future plans are to have Web Enablement for the GIS. The Web will allow for better distribution of the data to all of the users, as well as providing access to the GIS for other interested parties, including the regulatory community and the general public. Since it will be very user-friendly, it will allow casual users the opportunity to extract information that they otherwise would have more difficulty obtaining.

Also in the future plans for the LCAAP GIS is the addition of three dimensional modeling. This addition will allow for presentation of the data in a format that is more easily understood.


Author Information:

Jean C. Schumacher, Project Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.

Address: 601 East 12th Street

Kansas City, MO 64106-2896

Telephone: 816-983-3885

Fax: 816-426-5550


Sean Myers, Ecology and Environment, Inc.

Address: Buffalo Corporate Center

368 Pleasant View Drive

Lancaster, NY 14086

Telephone: 716-684-8060

Fax: 716-684-0844


Thomas Laflin, GIS Specialist, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

Address: 601 East 12th Street

Kansas City, MO 64106-2896

Telephone: 816-983-3599

Fax: 816-426-5550