Environmental Protection Agency officials say baseline air sampling and monitoring should begin within the next two to three weeks.
Officials with the EPA, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and scientists were on hand at an educational workshop Thursday to explain the methods and equipment that will be used to conduct the studies as well as answer questions from community members.
Adam Adams, onsite coordinator with EPA Region 6 says there are six proposed sites where equipment will be located, four around Camp Minden and two on the military installation. So far, agreements have been signed to allow them to place their equipment at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School, possibly at the fairgrounds in Minden, a location in Doyline by the water tower and an undecided location eight to 10 miles north of Camp Minden. They are also working on getting permission to place equipment somewhere in Haughton or Princeton.
“The reason for that is because of the predominant wind that comes from the south,” he said. “It’s pretty substantial, so we wanted to have one that was pretty far out and one that was pretty close.”
The two proposed sites at Camp Minden will be on the S-line and at the north gate.
During the session, meteorologist Steven Mauch, of Weston Solutions of West Chester, Pennsylvania, talked about the processes of each piece of equipment and how samples will be obtained and tested.
At each site, sampling and monitoring will be taking place simultaneously for about 16 days, and Adams says a safe turnaround time for getting results is about 30 days – two to three weeks for analyzing the samples and the remaining time to get the results back.
Adams says the baseline characterization is what everything is before remediation of the M6 propellant at Camp Minden begins. Scientists will be looking for pollutants in the air before the destruction of the propellant begins.
“When we have a removal action, we want to know what the conditions are before the action starts, we want to know what the actions are during the operation and after,” he said, “so there is a comparison if there is an impact during that. Generally, we look at air, water, soil – in this particular sampling plan, this is the first step in the process.”
He says that just because air and soil are the only ones being addressed during this particular workshop doesn’t mean groundwater and other “media” aren’t being addressed.
Jason Veitch, a member of the Citizens Advisory Group, says he learned a great deal during the workshop. He works with chemicals every day, he says, but this is a whole other ball game.
“For what we’re trying to do with the advisory group, it sounds like we’re on par with a lot of things,” he said. “It was really good. I’ve been studying some stuff, and the scientists and the meteorologist did a very good job in laying that out. I was very interested in how the data collection units work.”
While a recommendation has been made by the Louisiana Military Department and turned in to the EPA, the method of disposal has not been released to the public. EPA officials at the meeting were hesitant to discuss the method, saying they weren’t prepared to discuss it until the EPA has had time to review it and approve it.
The materials for Thursday’s meeting are on the EPA’s website, and any feedback, input or concerns can be emailed to R6_Camp_Minden@epa.gov. Adams says if anyone feels an additional workshop needs to take place, those concerns can be emailed as well.
During the meeting, some of the community members thought it would be a good idea to have an additional workshop on the effects on the groundwater. Several questions were asked in that regard, and officials said they would be open to the idea.
The topic of the next workshop will be response preparedness, which will be at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 23, at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries office, just outside of Camp Minden.