EPA Releases Long Awaited Report on Alternative OB/OD Technologies

Washington, D.C. The EPA finally released its final report on Alternatives To OB/OD of energetic hazardous wastes after studying the topic for nearly two years. The report merely presents an overview of alternative treatment technologies organized by the following categories:

  • case opening technologies for what EPA classifies as thick and thin cased munitions;
  • energetic material removal technologies;
  • energetic material destruction technologies; and
  • decontamination technologies.

    The report presents information on several specific technologies or approaches within each category that have been used in CONUS or internationally and included technologies that were "widely tested, but had limited success."

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Explosives Safety Trumps Air Pollution Threat

Tooele, Utah After discovering that a 17-ton cache of ordnance was at risk of self-ignition, the Tooele Army Depot detonated 28,000 target simulators over nine days this month, even on days when particulate pollution blanketed the Salt Lake Valley.

According to Rick Page of the Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, State officials granted the munitions depot an emergency permit to explode the simulators when it was discovered that some explosive material was crystallizing on the outside of the packaging. This set up a conflict between public safety and public health in which officials determined that it was necessary to continue detonating the old ordnance and open burning on days when the "clearing index," a measure of atmospheric mixing, is low and conducive to pollution buildup.

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Major Agreement for Vieques Cleanup Finalized

The following article was posted on an EPA Website related to Vieques.

The EPA announced today the finalization of a federal facility inter-agency agreement (FFA) with several agencies and jurisdictions for the cleanup of portions of the Island of Vieques and its surrounding waters. The agreement is between EPA, the U.S. Department of Navy, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and it lays out the roles that the various agencies will play as the cleanup continues. EPA's Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Donald R. Schregardus, as well as Carlos W. López Freytes, President of the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board and Susan Silander, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leader for the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, at EPA's offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico to mark the finalization of the agreement.

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EPA Considering Hazardous Munitions Storage & Treatment Permit

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Department of Public Safety have finalized an agreement and a proposed permit for managing and treating waste munitions in CNMI.

As part of the agreement, the EPA is proposing to issue a federal permit for storage and treatment of waste munitions at the Marpi Point open detonation area. The EPA and the CNMI government will be holding a public meeting on Dec. 11 at the Division of Environmental Quality on the proposed permit. The public then has 45 days from the date of that meeting to provide comments on the draft permit.

Munitions Response Committee Temporarily Abandoned

The Munitions Response Committee (MRC) is a group made up of representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the military services, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders in the munitions response process. The MRC was established several years ago following the collapse of the Range Rule. The goal of the MRC was to continue the dialogue between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the regulatory community over munitions response and UXO related issues. MRC participants discuss various issues and share their views, perspectives, and positions on munitions response related topics such as clean up authorities, the use of open burn open detonation, and long term management of UXO sites. As consensus was reached on a topic, a white paper was drafted to document the results. In theory, the completed white papers would then be used by both sides as they drafted their respective policy and guidance documents related to munitions response. The goal of the process was to avoid miscommunications or pitfalls in the field that have plagued UXO cleanup projects in the past. In past years, disagreements between regulators and DoD at UXO sites have resulted in large cost over runs and extensive schedule delays as both sides argued over authorities, roles, and responsibilities.

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