Col. Ron Stuckey, Louisiana Military Department project coordinator on the M6 cleanup, confirmed Tuesday night one of the bunkers at Camp Minden was compromised.
Stuckey explained roughly two weeks ago, contractors were visiting the site in the quest for competitive quotes. During this visit, in one of the bunkers containing clean burning igniters, they “observed” mold inside.
“Some of the containers were wet,” he said. “This is not unusual. To my knowledge, we have at least two magazines (bunkers) stacked to the ceiling, and when it rains, water eventually seeps through and drips in. This is the first time I’ve seen it (mold) with containers of CBI.”
In the technical subcommittee meeting Tuesday, he expounded, saying the reason for the “heavy” condensation was due to a closed vent. In light of the recent weather, with heavy rains and drastic temperatures, one of the vents was stopped up allowing temperatures to rise inside the magazine.
Stuckey said the magazine is constructed with two vents, one on the top and one on the door to allow air flow, and it was the one on top that was clogged.
“It was actually raining inside that magazine,” he said, adding the condensation was that heavy. “I’ve been in all these magazines, and I’ve never seen this condition before. I didn’t know what caused it.”
In light of that, he called the U.S. Army which sent in a quality assurance munitions specialist to do an evaluation.
“It’s something we do in the Army,” Stuckey said. “If we have problems or safety concerns, we call them, and they send somebody in. We coordinated it with the EPA like we were supposed to, and they sent somebody in Monday.”
Sam Coleman, dialogue committee member with the EPA, says the issue is not as serious as first believed.
“We did have some concerns,” he said. “But after we talked to them this afternoon, they’re going to be writing a report, and they promised to expedite that report with recommendations. It looks like the situation is not nearly as serious as we thought it was; they did continue to say that the whole situation at Camp Minden is one that we have to be concerned about.”
Coleman says Stuckey took action to deal with the immediate concerns, and members of the Explosives Safety Board who visited the site Monday felt Stuckey’s actions were sufficient.
Stuckey said since the state has taken ownership of the propellant, they have found two bunkers that are leaking, with this one located in the L2 storage area being the one he called the Army about.