BATON ROUGE — The critical work of Louisiana-based Explosive Service International to dispose of material at Camp Minden could be a key component of the United States Army’s future efforts to more safely get rid of munitions and other explosives.
As part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed the Army to work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study alternatives to the military’s current method of “open burning” to dispose of its weapons stockpile. Since last year, ESI has been safely disposing of explosives at Camp Minden using a clean burn chamber with the most advanced pollution abatement system in the world. The emissions from this system are continuously monitored and routinely tested by a third party.
The results have proven to be twice as clean as the air the community is breathing.
To date, ESI has disposed of more than 12 million pounds of dangerous explosives, which were abandoned by another company working at Camp Minden several years ago. Because of the unstable nature of the explosives, safely disposing of them is critical to protecting the safety of the surrounding community by using the most advanced environmentally sound equipment in the world.
ESI measures air quality in the community and conducts quarterly stack emissions testing of the chamber, which it publishes online at www.esicampminden.com. The chamber is the safest and most environmentally friendly operation of its kind in the nation, exceeding all federal air quality standards.
Jason Poe, ESI’s vice president, said, “ESI is proud of its work to help make the community surrounding Camp Minden more secure by disposing of these explosives. We believe our work demonstrates that you can dispose of these kinds of explosives in a way that is safe for the community and the environment. We are hopeful to be able to share our experience with researchers and help shepherd in new, better ways of getting rid of this kind of sensitive material.”