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EPA’s M6 action report released

by Minden Press-Herald

The Environmental Protection Agency’s action report memorandum was released Wednesday requesting “amended removal action at the Explo Systems, Inc. Site.”

While it does not take open tray burn off the table, the amended action will allow the Louisiana National Guard to choose an alternate method. It reads in part:

“When evaluating a potential contractor, the Louisiana National Guard should consider the attributes for successful approach identified in the March 13, 2015 ‘Dialogue Committee Facilitators’ Report’ to the extent it is consistent with state procurement requirements.

“The following onsite destruction technologies were highlighted based upon the discussions of the Dialogue Committee and may be evaluated as an alternative to onsite destruction by controlled open burning and any other applicable technologies to achieve the onsite destruction of the M6 and CBI (clean burning igniters). All of these approaches are also amenable to the installation of emission and/or effluent controls…”

It goes on the list the six technologies recommended by the dialogue committee March 13. They include contained burning with pollution controls, hydrolysis with treatment/disposal of effluent and solid wastes, microwave reactor, rotary kiln, supercritical water oxidation units and tunnel furnaces.

The project schedule is set for one year, no more than two, according to the memo.

“It is estimated that it will take several months for the contractor to mobilize and set up before operations are underway,” according to the memo. “After the concern for public safety, the time needed to complete the disposal of the M6 and CBI is a critical factor. Care should be taken for materials handling and worker safety. It is anticipated that the duration of action will be one year with the possibility of two years.”

The memo also lists provisions “depending on the technology chosen.”

The memo gives detailed background information, going in depth into potentially dangerous munitions and chemicals at Camp Minden left behind by Explo Systems, Inc. The memo describes the potential dangers of leaving the propellant and associated materials stored for much longer. It also gave a timeline of all activities from the date of the explosion on October 15, 2012, including the indictment and arrest of several Explo employees and their charges.

Ron Curry, EPA Region 6 Administrator, says his agency took an important step in keeping its promise to the community.

“Today, we took another important next step in fulfilling our promise to the community to increase public participation in reaching our decisions at Camp Minden, and to keep the safety of the public as our most important consideration,” he said. “The amended action memo signed today allows alternative technologies to be considered in disposing of the materials abandoned by Explo and left deteriorating at the site. The amendment clears the way for the Louisiana Military Department to review quotes for alternative methods and select a company to dispose of the M6 and CBI.”

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