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Criteria set for alternative M6 disposal method

by Minden Press-Herald

The dialogue committee met as a whole Thursday, set the criteria to choose an alternate method of disposal for millions of pounds of M6 propellant at Camp Minden.

The panel also refined its goal to “identify and evaluate alternative methods to open burn for the expeditious and safe (both occupational and environmental) removal of M6 Propellant and Clean Burning Igniter from Camp Minden.”
On the agenda, two options were put in front of the panel with not much difference between the two, but the amended primary objective will read as follows:

“The evaluation will focus on alternative technologies to open burn, but the Technology Working Group will apply the criteria to open burn also for informational purposes only. It is widely acknowledged by the state and federal government entities in the Dialogue that open burn is strongly opposed by much of the local population in the area.”

With that stated goal, Frances Kelley, dialogue committee member, expressed concern about how that goal would look publicly in that open burn still might look like it is being considered as an alternate method.

“If it looks publicly like we’re leaving open burn on the table,” she said, “I am concerned that would undermine
the trust in the process. On the other hand, I do know that there is concern that the Army is not at the table; the Army is the only one we don’t know where they really are. I’m with Col. (Sam) Mims (dialogue committee member) in that there will be no open burn, and we will do what we have to do to stop it.”

Mickey Walsh, a biologist also on the committee, concurred, saying the whole idea of the committee is to discuss alternatives to the open burn. After some discussion, “for informational purposes only” was stressed to make sure it was clear open burn is not really on the table as a method of disposal.

David Gray, EPA Region 6, clarified what the meeting was about Thursday in that the whole idea is to make sure each alternative they approach is evaluated equally.

“They’re trying to come up with an agreement amongst the group on how they are going to evaluate the different alternatives,” David Gray, EPA Region 6, said. “In order to do that, they need to have an agreed set of questions and evaluation mechanisms so that when they do it, it’s all done the same way.”

The next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on conference call. The technical work group will meet to begin reviewing initial technology descriptions, screening the criteria for the “short list,” and discussing criteria for a detailed comparison of the alternatives. They are also set to discuss a possible ranking system.

1. Overall protection of human health, the environment and flora and fauna.
2. Compliance with ARARs (Applicable Relevant and Appropriate Requirements. In this particular criterion, this means whatever method and company is chosen, it must meet state and federal guidelines and safety standards.
3. Long-term effectiveness and permanence.
4. Reduction of toxicity, mobility or volume through treatment.
5. Short-term effectiveness.
6. Implementability.
7. Cost.
8. State acceptance.
9.Community acceptance.

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