4.1 million pounds of M6 destroyed at Camp Minden

Dean Schellhase, project manager for Explosive Service International, explains documentation on the ESI dashboard regarding testing methods for contaminants in the demilitarized M6 artillery propellant as ESI Vice President Jason Poe listens. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald

Officials with the Louisiana Military Department say roughly 4.1 million pounds of M6 propellant improperly stored at Camp Minden has been destroyed.

At 26 percent complete destruction, officials added that 15 magazines of the more than 90 have been completely emptied.

So far, they have shipped off about 40 cubic yards of ash from the destruction, and much of that is packaging, Dean Schellhase, project manager with Explosive Service International, said. Packaging includes cardboard and plastics in which the propellant was stored. With four shipments, at 24 tons, all have been delivered to White Oak disposal facility in Monroe.

Schellhase says all the ash is being repurposed for use in oilfield sludge.

“It’s not convenient, but it’s a lot more economical,” he said. “They are treating it as commercial waste. Everything is going to White Oak.”

And all of this is with zero emissions, ESI Vice President Jason Poe said.

Quarterly stacks testing of the pollution abatement system is also scheduled for Oct. 10, they said.

In other news, the comprehensive performance test report has been sent to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for review.
Schellhase says they already have the preliminary results, which show “non-detect,” which means the stacks aren’t showing any contaminant emissions. Non-detect emissions are below the screening threshold levels tested.

“ESI can still operate even after getting the preliminary results,” he said.

The company has been operating 24 hours a day, seven days per week, destroying roughly 50,000 pounds per day, at about 880 pounds per tray. Poe says the only thing that has slowed destruction is the lightning from recent thunderstorms.

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