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Timeline of contained burn unit explained

by Minden Press-Herald

ESI officials explained the timeline of the contained burn unit, how it will be transported to Camp Minden and how the material will be transported from the bunkers to the destruction site.

Jason Poe, representing Baton Rouge-based Explosive Service International, says once construction of the contained burn unit and its filtration system is complete, it will be barged down to The Port of Shreveport and transferred to the super trailers with multiple axles. It will then be driven on a predetermined route to Camp Minden to the destruction site where it will be assembled.

According to the timeline presented, the unit will be delivered mid-December, with the first live fire mid-January.

At an Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored meeting at Camp Minden Thursday, ESI officials and the Louisiana Military Department went over the work plan, the portion of the AOC that specifies all the “what, where, how and when” that will be followed during the destruction of nearly 16 million pounds of M6 artillery propellant left behind at Camp Minden by the now defunct Explo Systems Inc.

Dean Schellhase, with ESI, went over the work plan, telling audience members other plans will be included, such as the operations and maintenance plan, air and water sampling and monitoring and post removal and site control plan.

Citizen Advisory Group members asked questions of ESI regarding safety and the integrity of the M6. Brian Salvatore, an LSU chemistry professor and dialogue committee member, suggested using different odors of chemicals that could possibly distinguish the deterioration of the M6 in the magazines. A sweet smell would indicate the propellant is in better shape than if it has a sour smell.

Poe says there’s really no way to insure the integrity of the M6, because all the boxes are mixed up. They will have to judge the integrity of each box when they get ready to physically move it, he said.

“We lost a lot of integrity when Explo started mixing all the boxes,” he said. “There’s really no way to do a stability test of the chemical makeup of the product to know if it will go bad next week. You could literally sample every box and get a result that everything is OK, and get to the next magazine where in reality that box is bad because I didn’t get the grain from the bottom of the box. We’ve lost our ability to do monitoring of the product when they mixed all the lots, which is a dangerous job for me and my team.”

He says they can do a physical assessment of the magazine, and that’s really it.

Poe says he’ll take note of chemical odors and they will look into adding it into their operations and maintenance plan.

He says based on the information they received from the TAV site visit report, they plan to destroy roughly 800 pounds of M6 every 20 minutes.

The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17. Adam Adams, EPA on-scene coordinator says the meeting will tentatively be at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries building, located on Highway 80.

The meeting will focus on the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant groundwater assessment. If anyone has any questions and would like to submit them beforehand, email [email protected].

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