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Treatment of Explosives Residues from Range Activities

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Final rept. 1 Jun 2005-18 May 2009

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A combination of Sphagnum peat moss and crude soybean oil PMSO was examined as an in place treatment option for reducing the transport of dissolved explosives from munition residues on active training ranges. An evaluation was performed using outdoor ex situ soil plots at the Massachusetts Military Reservation MMR in MA. The study was directed at measuring the reduction in the flux of explosive compounds i.e., RDX, HMX, TNT from freshly deposited Composition B detonation residues into the underlying soil. Over a 1 year period, the PMSO treatment layer reduced the average flux of RDX at approximately 30 centimeters below the soil surface by between 5- and 500-fold compared to control plots. Treatment effectiveness was dependent on the specific proportions of peat moss and crude soybean oil in the PMSO. Detections of TNT, HMX, and the RDX degradation products MNX, DNX, and TNX in pore water were minimal and sporadic at all sample depths. A parallel demonstration examining the compatibility of the PMSO technology with range activities was performed at a hand grenade training range at Fort Jackson, SC. The PMSO material was not adversely affected by the hand grenades, which redistributed the material horizontally and vertically. However, large detonations of C4 explosives, and hot, dry, and windy conditions resulted in some smoldering and generation of nuisance dust from the PMSO. These results indicate the potential for this inexpensive and readily available PMSO material to significantly reduce the migration of explosives residues into groundwater. This technology would be expected to be as effective as reducing explosive compound fluxes if it was emplaced as a barrier below a layer of soil to prevent generation of nuisance dust, and it would be most applicable at grenade ranges, mortar firing points, OBOD areas, and EOD training facilities that are under active management.

Subject Categories:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Water Pollution and Control
  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Ecology

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