Accession Number:



Review and Synthesis of Evidence Regarding Environmental Risks Posed by Munitions Constituents (MC) in Aquatic Systems

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Vicksburg United States

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Underwater military munitions UWMM may pose a risk to aquatic environments because they typically contain munitions constituents MC such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene TNT and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine RDX. If UWMM become corroded or breaches, the fill material may leak or dissolve into the surrounding environment, which could potentially adversely affecting affect the exposed biota. In large part, because of the high cost and complexity associated with sampling MC at UWMM sites, detailed and reliable information about MC in water, sediment, and biota is available for only a few sites, and therefore temporal and spatial uncertainties persist. Examination of available data indicates that concentrations of MC in water and sediment were largely below detection or were relatively low e.g., parts per billion, with higher concentrations being highly localized and typically near a point source. These findings were in accordance with predictive modeling and with fate studies. Available toxicity data derived for a variety of freshwater and marine species were compiled and used to derive interim water quality criteria and protective values derived from species sensitivity distributions. Toxicity varied widely across a diversity of MC and species. For most aquatic sites, MC contamination in sediment and in the water-column presents low risk to the resident biota.

Subject Categories:

  • Underwater Ordnance
  • Water Pollution and Control

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