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Review of M6 proposals start Thursday

by Minden Press-Herald

Review of the M6 proposals begins Thursday morning following the due date of 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.

Col. Ron Stuckey, project coordinator for the cleanup of the M6 propellant at Camp Minden, says as of Wednesday morning, several different companies have expressed interest in the project.

“At the end of the day, they may or may not call me today, but for sure tomorrow, I’ll find out who turned in bids,” Stuckey said. “We know for a fact there were 13 contractors who expressed an interest. Whether or not they will all bid, I don’t have a clue.”

The bids will be turned in to the Louisiana National Guard’s contracting office at Camp Beauregard in Pineville. The companies which submitted bids will not be released to the public until a contractor is chosen.

The final report from the Camp Minden Dialogue Committee listed the next steps in the process of the cleanup, which reports the review of bids could take one to two weeks. However, Stuckey says it could take longer.

“It’s not something you do very quickly,” he said. “You have to review each one of them, and if we get 13 bids, it could take more than two weeks. You just don’t rush through it and pick the best price. You have to look at the details of what they said. They have to convince us they can meet the emissions standards and there is a technical evaluation, which is the hardest part. Then there is a cost evaluation, which is a lot easier.”

At this time, $19 million has been released to the state to cover the cost of the cleanup.

Nearly 16 million pounds of M6 propellant is stored in 97 magazines, or bunkers, at Camp Minden. At this time, the open tray burn method of disposal is the choice expressed in the Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent; however, EPA Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry says they will be looking at alternatives.

Over the last month, the Camp Minden Dialogue Committee spent many hours of study and discussion of alternative methods to dispose of the munitions in an environmentally friendly way and for the safety of the community. Six different technologies, along with guidelines from the community, were submitted to the EPA last Friday for use in choosing an alternate method.

The scope of the massive amount of munitions was discovered in 2012 following an explosion that rocked Camp Minden and surrounding communities. The Louisiana State Police learned the now defunct Explo Systems, Inc., had improperly stored the M6 propellant, and when they went bankrupt, ownership was turned over to the state.

Once a contractor is chosen, a recommendation will be made to the EPA. The EPA will then approve a contractor, and the contract will be awarded. The timeframe of the cleanup will depend on the method and contractor chosen.

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