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Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780815515401, 9780815516453

Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions

1st Edition

Locating, Identifying the contaminants, and Planning for Environmental Cleanup of Land and Sea Military Ranges and Dumpsites

Author: Richard Albright
Hardcover ISBN: 9780815515401
eBook ISBN: 9780815516453
Imprint: William Andrew
Published Date: 13th May 2008
Page Count: 330
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Unexploded military ordnance and toxic chemicals, some dating back to World War I, are a worldwide concern, especially at closed military bases that will be redeveloped for housing or civilian use. In Europe and Asia, many munitions sites are former battlegrounds; in Russia and its former territories, sites are used for storage and waste disposal. Experts estimate that the United States alone could spend between $50 and 250 billion dollars to cleanup these sites, many of which are in high-population density, residential areas. You might live near one such site right now.

This book gives detailed instructions for cleaning up military ordnance sites, and lists of explosives, chemical warfare materials and breakdown products that the soil and groundwater must be tested for. Also included are archival studies; remote sensing techniques; geophysical techniques; safety issues; a chemical weapons, explosives and ordnance primer; known and unknown range lists; and a case study of documents written for cleaning up one of the worst examples yet: Spring Valley in the District of Columbia. It disproves myths, common misconceptions and lies, and explains what, how, and where to look for munitions and their residual contamination.

Key Features

  • Author is an award winning and world-renowned expert in weapons of mass destruction.
  • Meets the needs of explosive and ordnance demolition personnel, as well as environmental scientists, insurance agents, and building contractors.
  • Includes the primary documents written (by the author) for the cleanup of one of the worst sites in the United States (Spring Valley, District of Columbia).
  • Subject of the book is of worldwide concern with former battlegrounds in Europe and Asia, as well as storage and waste disposal sites in Russia and former Soviet territories.
  • The only text available with clear and complete instructions on proper cleanup of military ordnance sites including a detailed list of explosives, chemical warfare material and breakdown products.


This book is written for environmentalists, regulators, policy makers, contractors, and activist citizens who are unaware of munitions issues, as well as for military munitions experts and decision-makers needing to understand the critical environmental and health risks arising from munitions issues. It will also be essential reading for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other personnel responsible for cleaning up active and Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS).

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions 1 Cleaning Up Old Munitions Sites 1.1 A Primer on the Science and Concepts of Cleaning Up a Range Site 1.2 A Historical Background of Old Munitions Sites 1.3 New Requirements for Old Munitions 1.3.1 Final Military Munitions Rule 1.3.2 Management Principles for Implementing Response Actions at Closed, Transferring, and Transferred (CTT) Ranges 1.3.3 The Nonexistent Range Rule 1.3.4 Chemical Weapons Convention 1.3.5 Base Realignment and Closure Act 1.3.6 Defense Environmental Restoration Program 1.3.7 Primary Purpose of the New UXO Rules 2 Limitations and Expertise in Remediating Munitions Sites 2.1 State and Local Regulators Need to Develop Their Own Expertise in Remediating Munitions Sites 2.1.1 Examples of the Military's Lack of Experience in Environmental Cleanup 2.1.2 The EPA Also Lacks Experience in Some Regions with Military Issues 2.1.3 Barriers Unique to Military Site Remediation 3 Ordnance and Related Munitions Cleanup Issues 3.1 Introduction 3.1.1 Extent of the Munitions Problem Generally 3.1.2 Land Mines 3.1.3 Munitions Burials by the Civilian Conservation Corps 3.2 Extent of the Explosive Munitions Problem 3.2.1 Storage Depots 3.2.2 Manufacturing Facilities for Explosives Toluol Nitrates Nitrogen Fixation Other Explosive Precursors Powder Manufacture TNT Production Ammonium Nitrate Production Picric Acid Production Tetryl Production Tetranitroaniline Production Fulminate of Mercury Production Nitrostarch Production 3.2.3 Experimental Explosives Anilite Perchlorates Hydrazine Nitrate NDMA 4 Explosive Ordnance 4.1 Danger From Explosive Ordnance 4.1.1 Hypersensitivity in Old Deteriorated Explosives 4.1.2 How Explosives Work 4.1.3 Blow in Place 4.1.4 Toxicity of Explosives 4.1.5 UXO Masquerading as Inert Practice Rounds 4.1.6 UXO Claimed to be Inert 4.1.7 Expect the Unexpected with Ordnance 4.2 Explosive Contamination 4.2.1 Methods of Treating Explosive Contamination in Groundwater 4.2.2 Methods of Treating Explosive Contamination in Soil 4.2.3 Sampling for Explosives and Breakdown Products 4.3 Methods of Destroying Military Explosives 4.3.1 Open Air Burning 4.3.2 Underwater Detonation 4.3.3 Surface Detonation 4.3.4 Detonation Chambers 5 Chemical Warfare Material 5.1 Chemical Warfare Material Issues 5.1.1 History of Chemical Warfare 5.1.2 Extent of the Chemical Warfare Material Problem 5.1.3 University Research in World War I 5.1.4 Chemical Companies and Other World War I Facilities 5.1.5 Overlooked Sites 5.1.6 Toxic Smoke Candles 5.1.7 Quantities of Chemical Agents on Hand at the End of World War I 5.1.8 Research up to and during World War II 5.1.9 Unique Problems in CWM Site Remediation Mycotoxins 5.1.10 Chemical Agent Identification Sets 5.1.11 CWM Contamination 5.1.12 Arsenic Contamination 6 A History of Ordnance Disposal Practices 6.1 Prior Disposal Practices for Chemical and Explosive Ordnance 6.1.1 Determining Whether Buried Munitions and Explosives Are Likely 6.1.2 Burial of Chemical Weapons 6.1.3 Dumping Explosive and Chemical Ordnance Underwater 6.1.4 Charleston, South Carolina 6.1.5 Colts Neck Naval Pier, Earle, New Jersey 6.1.6 Chesapeake Bay 6.1.7 Other Sea Dumping Events 6.1.8 Lake Erie 7 Ordnance Detection Technology 7.1 Historical Perspective 7.1.1 General Types of Metal Detectors 7.1.2 Very Low Frequency Types 7.1.3 Pulse Induction Types 7.1.4 Radio Frequency Types 7.1.5 Cesium Vapor Magnetometers 7.1.6 Description of the Various UXO Location Technologies 7.1.7 Brands Commonly Used for Ordnance 7.1.8 Some Detectors can Detonate Fuses, Detonators, or Electric Blasting Caps 7.1.9 Choosing a Metal Detector or Magnetometer 7.1.10 Pulsed Neutron Identification 7.1.11 X-Ray of Shells 7.1.12 Other Geophysically Intrusive Techniques 7.1.13 Ground Penetrating Radar 7.1.14 Infrared Imaging 7.1.15 Sonar 7.1.16 Bioassay 7.1.17 Sampling Data May Help Locate Buried Ordnance 7.1.18 Arsenical CWM Biolocation using a Fern 7.1.19 How to Conduct a Correct Search for Buried or Range Impact Ordnance 7.1.20 Geophysical Search Plans 7.2 Historical and Archival Data Sources 7.2.1 Archival Searches 7.2.2 Library Materials 7.2.3 Aerial Photography for Munitions Sites 8 Excavation and Removal of Ordnance 8.1 Excavating the Ordnance Item after Proper Identification 8.1.1 Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing 8.1.2 Robotics 8.2 Potential Chemical Agents That May Be Encountered 8.2.1 Known Chemical Agents 8.2.2 Nerve Agents 8.2.3 Binary Components 8.2.4 CWM, Smoke and Incendiary Abbreviations (Old and New) 8.2.5 Identifi cation of Munitions with Paint Intact 8.2.6 CWM Breakdown Products Ions Anions Acids Mustard VX GA GB GD Lewisite Other Agent Breakdown Products Perchlorate Rocket Propellants and Explosives Known at AUES (1918) 8.2.7 Natural Poisons 8.2.8 Relative Toxicity of Natural Poisons 8.2.9 Experimental Toxic Substances 8.2.10 Less Toxic Chemical Fillers 8.2.11 Smoke and Incendiary Munitions 8.2.12 Sampling for Chemical Agents and Explosives 8.3 Radioactive Facilities 9 Recommendations 9.1 Basic Site Requirements 9.2 Time is Running Out Photo Section

Part 2 Case Study: Spring Valley formerly Used Defense Site 10 A History of the Spring Valley Site 10.1 Introduction 10.1.1 The Author's Involvement with Spring Valley 10.2 The History of the Spring Valley Site 10.3 The District of Columbia's First Report on the World War I Poison Gas Production at the AUES 10.3.1 Why the First Two Cleanups Failed 10.3.2 Documentation of Original Research Work On-Site 10.3.3 Specifi c Structures 10.3.4 Dispersion Tests 10.3.5 Remaining Unexploded Chemical Ordnance 10.3.6 Burial Operation 10.3.7 Conclusion 11 Concerns over the Adequacy of Previous Remediation Efforts 11.1 Introduction 11.1.1 Inadequate Sampling 11.1.2 Health Impact 11.1.3 Environmental Impact 11.1.4 Over-Reliance on Expertise of Personnel 11.2 Concerns about Remaining Unexploded Ordnance and Chemical Containers 11.2.1 Over-Reliance on Expertise 11.3 Little Available Knowledge on World War I Experimental Ordnance 11.4 Experience Limited Due to Uniqueness of Site 11.5 Anomaly Review Board Protocols Excluded Laboratory Equipment Signatures 11.6 Equipment Limitations 11.7 Areas Not Searched 11.8 Community Right to Know 12 The District of Columbia's Initial Success as a State Regulator on Spring Valley 12.1 Success Results from Hard Work and Providence 12.1.1 The House Next Door 12.1.2 The Partnering Effort 12.2 Myths and Falsehoods Regarding the AUES 12.2.1 1995 No Further Action Report Problems 12.2.2 Small Laboratory Quantities of Toxic Material 12.3 The Glass Stopper 12.4 The Child Development Center at American University 13 The Continuing Search for Burial Sites 13.1 The Continuing Search for Burial Sites 13.1.1 Subsequent Report on a 1921 Article in a Campus Newspaper 13.1.2 Report of the Burial of Shells by the Civilian Conservation Corps 13.1.3 Findings 13.1.4 Recommendations 13.1.5 Burial Pit Found by Civil War Relic Hunter 13.1.6 AOI 17: The Hopeless Hollows Burial Areas 13.1.7 Historical Photographs 13.1.8 Historical Maps 13.1.9 Historical Documents 13.1.10 Previous Sampling Results 13.1.11 Previous Geophysical Results 13.1.12 Review and Evaluation 13.1.13 Lot 18 on the American University Campus 13.1.14 Aerial Photographs 14 Expanding and Enlarging a Remediation Site 14.1 Finding the Range Impact Areas 14.1.1 Westmoreland Circle Impact Area 14.1.2 Livens Projector Battery Impact Area 14.1.3 Dalecarlia Impact Area 14.2 Expanding the Boundary 14.2.1 New Boundaries 14.3 New Points of Interest 14.3.1 Background 14.3.2 Ground Scar at the Junction of Trails 14.3.3 Additional Concrete Bunkers, Magazines, and Explosive Chambers 14.3.4 Livens Gun Pit 14.3.5 Rows of Spots 14.3.6 Burial Sites for Leaking Shells 14.3.7 Old Mustard Field and Linear Testing Troughs 14.3.8 Linear Testing Troughs Erroneously Labeled as an Airstrip 14.3.9 Circular Testing Fields 14.3.10 Toxic Smoke Candles 14.3.11 Munitions Plants 14.3.12 Persistency Test Area 100 ft + 100 ft 14.3.13 Courier Explosives Burial Site 14.3.14 Debris Field at a Third Glenbrook Road Property 14.3.15 Anomaly Areas within the Dalecarlia Reservoir 14.3.16 Rockwood Six 14.3.17 Sedgwick Vicinity Ground Scars 14.3.18 Pit and Trenches at 52nd Court 14.4 Aerial Photographic Interpretation 15 The Dangers of Lewisite and Arsenic 15.1 The History of Lewisite and a Speech by W. Lee Lewis 15.1.1 History of Lewisite 15.1.2 A Speech by W. Lee Lewis 15.2 Arsenic Contamination Cleanup 15.2.1 The Problem with Arsenic 16 Sampling Conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers 16.1 Secret Sampling for the AUES List Conducted by the Corps 16.1.1 Sequence of Events 16.1.2 Generic Comments 16.1.3 Specifi c Constituents 16.1.4 Comments on Risk 16.1.5 Comments on Implications for the Spring Valley Project 16.2 Effort to Deny the Existence of Additional Burial Sites 16.3 Requests Directed to the Corps 16.4 Requests Directed to the EPA 17 Conceptual Site Model for Spring Valley 17.1 Introduction 17.1.1 Writing a Conceptual Site Model 17.1.2 Historical Records, Drawings and Maps 17.1.3 Boundary 17.1.4 Explosive Burials 17.1.5 Impact Areas 17.1.6 Persistency Test Area 17.1.7 Major Tolman's Field 17.1.8 Tenleytown Station 17.1.9 Railroad Sidings 17.1.10 Aerial Photographs and Reports 17.1.11 Still Photographs 17.1.12 Toxicity and Exposure Data17.1.13 Site Cont Data 17.1.14 Constituents Actually Found 17.1.15 Perchlorate 17.1.16 Geophysical Data 17.1.17 Geologic Data 17.1.18 Hydrogeologic Information 17.1.19 Residents 17.1.20 Other Environmental Receptors 17.1.21 Site Development Infrastructure Information 17.1.22 Anecdotal Information 17.1.23 Range Issues 17.1.24 Professional Conjecture 17.1.25 Toxic Metals Can Be Transformed into More Toxic Substances 17.1.26 Other Burial Sites 17.1.27 Burial of Shells by the Civilian Conservation Corps 17.1.28 Slonecker Pit 17.1.29 Dirt from Glenbrook Road 17.1.30 Benzo(a)pyrene Hot Spots 17.1.31 Manganese Compounds 17.1.32 Selenium Compounds 17.1.33 Mercury Compounds 17.1.34 Antimony Compounds 17.1.35 Sulfur Compounds 17.1.36 Chemical and Experimental Ordnance 18 Summary 18.1 Future Necessary Work at the Spring Valley Site 18.2 Role of the States in Environmental Remediation of Military Sites 18.3 Summary


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© William Andrew 2008
13th May 2008
William Andrew
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About the Author

Richard Albright

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of the Environment Defense Unit, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

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