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Title: Characterization of explosives contamination at military firing ranges
Authors: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (U.S.)
Jenkins, Thomas F.
Pennington, Judith C.
Ranney, Thomas A.
Berry, Thomas E.
Miyares, Paul H.
Walsh, Marianne E.
Hewitt, Alan D. (Alan Dole)
Perron, Nancy M.
Parker, L. V. (Louise V.)
Hayes, Charolett A.
Wahlgren, Eric G.
Keywords: Artillery ranges
Explosives residues
Firing ranges
Hand grenades
Impact area
Propellant residues
Site characterization
Soil sampling
Soil pollution
Training ranges
Military installations
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: Soil samples were collected at military training ranges at two Army installations. Three areas were sampled within the training ranges at Fort Lewis, Washington: the hand grenade range, a 105-mm howitzer firing point, and a portion of the artillery impact area, and a hand grenade range at Fort Richardson, Alaska. Soil samples were analyzed for explosives-related residues by GC-ECD using SW-846 Method 8095 (draft). All soil samples from both hand grenade ranges were found to have detectable concentrations of RDX. TNT, two environmental transformation products of TNT (2-ADNT and 4-ADNT), and HMX were often detected as well. Concentrations of these analytes ranged from near a detection limit of about 1 μg/kg to 75,100 μg/kg for TNT in one surface soil at the Fort Lewis range. Concentrations were generally an order of magnitude lower at Fort Richardson. Concentrations of RDX in the surface soils were generally an order of magnitude higher than soils collected at shallow depth. Surface samples collected in front of two 105-mm howitzers were contaminated with 2,4-DNT, a component of the M1 propellant. Concentrations ranged from 458 to 175,000 μg/kg in front of Howitzer #1 and from 1030 to 237,000 μg/kg in front of Howitzer #2, each of which had fired about 600 rounds in this firing position during the previous month. Other isomers of DNT, 2,4,6-TNT, and two environmental transformation products of 2,4-DNT (2ANT and 4ANT) were also detected at much lower concentrations. Soil samples were also collected from a number of areas around detonation craters formed by 105-mm and 155-mm howitzers, and 60-, 81- and 120-mm mortars. Concentrations of explosives residues in and around these craters were generally barely detectable, indicating that only minor amounts of explosives residue are deposited during high-order detonations of army munitions. Soil samples were also collected below and adjacent to a 155-mm howitzer shell that had undergone a low-order detonation. These samples were heavily contaminated with TNT and its environmental transformation products. These results indicate that efforts should be made to find and remove the resulting debris from low-order detonations whenever possible to prevent leaching of contaminants to groundwater. Water samples collected from five groundwater monitoring wells and five seeps around the artillery impact areas at Fort Lewis were also analyzed for explosives; 8 of the 10 were found to contain very low (<1.0 μg/L) concentrations of RDX. The source of this RDX is unknown.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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