Safe and Effective Cleaning of Process Pipelines in the Explosives Industry,
BADGER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT BARABOO WIS
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Production was discontinued at Badger in 1975, and layaway activities to place the plant in mobilization readiness commenced. Our production mission had been to manufacture single base solid propellants and double-base solventless propellants,. The primary ingredient in these propellants is nitrocellulose, which, in the process of manufacturing, is conveyed from location to location in a water slurry form through enclosed pipelines. Following our shutdown, we flushed these NC pipelines with literally millions of gallons of water to remove any residual NC that might have remained in the pipes from production. Later - as were were disassembling valves for processing, we were dumbfounded by the quantity of NC remaining in the pipes -- and were faced with the problem of cleaning this material from the pipes efficiently - and at a minimum risk.