LANG corrects reports of planned explosion

Officials with Explosive Service International and the Louisiana National Guard attended the Camp Minden Citizen Advisory Group meeting Monday.

CAMP MINDEN — No test burn took place Monday where military officials will destroy the remaining clean burning igniter at Camp Minden.

Lt. Col. Brad Kendall, installation commander, clarified the dates widely reported by media, saying that while no burn took place Monday, the October dates published are target dates.

“These are the dates that were recommended that we’re trying to get to,” he said. “The first date is the week of Oct. 17-20, if we can achieve those dates. If not, it’s going to be pushed back a little bit until we can find the right date.”

He explained the date of the first 820 pounds of CBI depends on weather conditions, such as wind speed, wind direction, humidity
and other factors. It also depends on how soon they can get all agencies involved on the same page, he said.

“It takes a lot to put it together,” he said. “There’s no set date as of right now; it’s still in the planning stages.”
He reiterated that before each burn, a press release will be sent out by Louisiana National Guard to all media outlets.

Adam Adams, Environmental Protection Agency on-site coordinator, says if all goes as they plan, the first burn could take place Thursday.

During a Camp Minden Citizen Advisory Group meeting Monday, officials from the LANG, the EPA and Explosive Service International, the contractor destroying the M6 propellant improperly stored by Explo Service Inc., gave an update on the disposal process.

Sheila Herren, a Doyline resident, asked several questions of officials in attendance regarding concerns about the toxins that could potentially be released into the air following each burn. After the meeting, she says her mind was set at ease knowing that the public will be informed beforehand.

“I’m more comfortable now, because at least I know they’re going to give us dates of when they’ll do the burn,” she said. “That way, if we choose to leave the area, we can. It just gives us a little more peace of mind. But you can’t help but worry about what’s in the air. I applaud them; it’s out of their control too. It’s all in God’s hands.”

Four monitoring and sampling stations will be set up around the perimeter of the bunkers. In addition, the EPA is providing a Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer bus, which will provide real-time monitoring of the air for the diphenylamine and hydrogen cyanide, Adams said.

The EPA will also take samples of total metals, total particulates, and the semi-volatile organic compounds – which include the dibutylphthalate and diphenylamine – and dioxins and furans.

“It’s a big bus with equipment inside, and whether it’s sitting still or driving around, it sucks in air and analyzes that air,” he said, “specifically that air for this site. We’re going to monitor for those on the bus and at our four sampling stations. If we start getting readings that are high, then that bus will be driving around in the community following that plume. Or, if we’re not getting anything, then we might drive around just to see if we’re missing it.”

The samples taken will be sent to a certified laboratory, analyzed and the results will be released to the public when they come back, he said, adding that the samples will have at least a 30-day turnaround time.

He explained if they find any toxins in the air that cause a danger to the public, Adams would be notified by officials on the bus and then he would notify the LANG.

Protocol then dictates the information goes to the Bossier and Webster Offices of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, who will then notify those in the affected area by phone or message.

All the while, the bus will be downwind of the burn continually monitoring wherever the wind direction leads them, he said.

As of Monday, LANG reported 7 million pounds of M6 propellant has been destroyed with 37 magazines now empty.

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