USACE Releases Update to EM 200-1-15

Washington, DC The USACE quietly and without coordination with industry released an update to EM 200-1-015, Technical Guidance For Military Munitions Response Actions. The changes to the Engineer Manual primarily include the addition of quality processes involving geophysical systems which "are required to provide defensible data that can support environmental decisions when characterizing munitions response sites and when making risk management decisions involving MEC." The changes also attempt to minimize performance deficiencies known to exist in products from analog geophysical methods such that they are not precluded from consideration in environmental risk management decisions.

The updated EM 200-1-015 dated October 30, 2018 can be downloaded from UXOInfo.com.

New Version of USACE ER 385-1-95 Released

Washington, D.C. The USACE released an updated version of ER 385-1-95, Safety and Health Requirements for Operations and Activities Involving Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC). The revised Engineer Regulation (ER) dated 31 December 2014 supersedes the previous version dated March 30, 2007.

The new guidance, which can be downloaded from the UXOInfo.com's UXO Library, contains updated safety and health requirements and responsibilities for military munitions response actions and MEC related operations, including operations involving CWM.

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Kansas Seeks to Reinstate Explosive Regulations Accidentally Eliminated in 2010

Topeka, Kansas Kansas State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen hopes to reinstate some explosive storage regulations which were apparently accidentally eliminated in 2010. In addition, there are plans to create new rules to better track the explosives industry. For example, new regulations would require new licenses every three years and annual inspections of explosives storage sites.

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Disposed Ammunition Recovered, Then Disposed of Again?

Red Cliff, Wisconsin Last summer the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior (a Chippewa Tribe) and their support contractor recovered 25 barrels from the Lake Superior Barrel Dump Site under a DoD funded project. The barrels reportedly contain thousands of old detonators but the Tribe was unable to properly dispose of the material since there are no federally approved facilities authorized to receive hazardous explosive materials on the Great Lakes.

The Tribe did not have the proper permits in place to transport the material on land through Minnesota or Wisconsin so the Tribe and the contractor had no choice but to re-package the detonators into six bright orange containers and dump them back into the waters of the Great Lakes. GPS positions were recorded; plans for follow up retrieval and proper disposal of the containers are pending based on the Tribe's ability to get a federal waiver to transport and process the explosive hazardous waste.

Federal Safety Standards for Fireworks Disposal Recommened

Article from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board website.

Washington, DC In a final report set to be considered today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said an explosion and fire that killed five workers during a fireworks disposal operation in Hawaii in 2011 resulted from unsafe disposal practices; insufficient safety requirements for government contractor selection and oversight; and an absence of national guidelines, standards, and regulations for fireworks disposal.

The draft document, scheduled for a board vote at a public meeting in Washington, DC, today, recommends that federal agencies develop a new government-wide safety and environmental responsibility requirement for contractors, and calls for new regulations on the safe disposal of fireworks, a growing problem across the U.S.

Article continued on the CSB Website.

Are UXO Escorts Getting Short-Changed?

Washington, D.C. Several years ago the Department of Labor (DOL) added UXO Technician categories to the list of occupations and skill sets under Service Contract Act (SCA) contracts. SCA rates are the minimum hourly rates that companies are required to pay employees working under SCA contracts. The scale or wages vary by location including by State and county.

UXOInfo.com conducted an evaluation of SCA wage lists from over a dozen of locations and came across some interesting results. All wage determinations examined had five categories for UXO technicians under the 30000 series (Technical Occupations). These included:

  • Code 30491 - UXO Technician I
  • Code 30492 - UXO Technician II
  • Code 30493 - UXO Technician III
  • Code 30494 - UXO Safety Escort
  • Code 30495 - UXO Sweep Personnel

In all cases examined from the DOL website, the minimum hourly rates for the Sweep Personnel and Safety Escort were equal to the rate for a UXO Technician Level I. However, what is more interesting is that the DDESBP and USACE policy requires escorts to be performed by a UXO Technician Level II or higher. Specific language from the respective policies are highlighted below:

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DDESB 6055.09 Standard Update Released

Washington, D.C. The Department of Defense Explosive Safety Board (DDESB) Administratively Reissued their Explosives Safety Standard "DoD Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards: 6055.09-M". In the re-issue process, the 6055.09 standard was reclassified as a "Manual" and was issued in a series of eight separate volumes.

The volume which impacts the UXO industry the most is Volume 7: "Criteria for UXO, Munitions Response, Waste Military Munitions, and Material Potentially Presenting an Explosive Hazard (MPPEH)". Specifically within Volume 7 are enclosures on several topics including enclosures for UXO, Real Property Known or Suspected to Contain MEC and chemical agents (CA), and MPPEH.

The revised Manual is close to the version that was updated and released in February 2008. However, the revised manual does have some interesting new or revised requirements that are worth noting.

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ATF Updates The Federal List of Explosive Materials

Washington, D.C. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published their annual updated list of explosive materials in the Federal Register. The list includes explosives, blasting agents, and detonators, that are subject to federal importation, manufacture, distribution, receipt, and storage regulations.

The updated list for 2010 includes 237 materials. One noticeable change from lists published in recent years is the absence of ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP). APCP has been removed from the list as a result of a court decision in March 2009 and is no longer regulated under federal explosive laws.

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DDDESB Releases Update to 6055.9 Standard

The DoD Explosive Safety Board (DDESB) released an updated version of their explosive safety standard 6055.9 STD. The update incorporates two series of changes and revisions which were initially incorporated in March and August 2009 respectively. Impacts to the UXO industry include updates to the section on Material Potentially Presenting An Explosive Hazard (MPPEH) (i.e., Section 16) which adds a sub section on the "Collection of MPPEH" (subsection 16-3).

Sub-section 16-3 covering collection of MPPEH does not incorporate any "new" requirements related to the management of MPPEH itself but rather updates the 6055.STD so that it agrees with language in DoD Instruction 4140.62 "Material Potentially Presenting an Explosive Hazard" which was updated in November 2008. The revised DDESB standard strengthens DoD's commitment to ensure that hazardous material is not released outside of its control and that all material inspected that is certified as safe (i.e., material documented as safe [MDAS]) is controlled and maintained to prevent potential co-mingling of MPPEH and material documented as an explosive hazard (MDEH).

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Army Revises Policy on Certain CAIS

The Army released a policy memorandum providing clarification of guidance and procedures for use in field operations involving Chemical Agent Identification Sets (CAIS) containing dilute chemical agents. The policy specifically applies only to the K951/2, K953/4, and K955 CAIS and is applicable for range clearance activities on operational ranges as well as munitions response actions on other than operational ranges.

The policy basically allows certain CAIS recovered to be treated and disposed of as hazardous waste by contractors as an alternative to initiating a chemical event report and having the Army (i.e. Technical Escort) respond as an explosives or emergency response under the 20th Support Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High Yield Explosives  CBRNE). The policy also waives the requirement for a chemical site plan and a munition response chemical safety submission for sites where only K951/2, K953/4 and/or K955 CAIS are recovered.

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