SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Sibley company has a plan for the millions of pounds of explosive propellant left behind at Camp Minden in Webster Parish by the now bankrupt Explo Systems, Inc., as the state looks for ways to get rid of it.
Madden Contracting Company in Sibley wants to burn every last bit of it, and now they've gone to Baton Rouge to ask state leaders for a contract to do just that.
Madden is very close to Camp Minden, and owner David Madden points out that if the propellant were to explode inside the specially designed bunkers where they're currently stored, the blast would likely head his way. Since it's only a couple of miles down the road, he says he has a vested interest in the proper disposal of the material, beyond getting paid for the work.
Since the discovery of the 15 million of pounds of M6 propellant in October 2012, state leaders have been trying to figure out a safe and cost-efficient way to get rid of the stuff. They say the longer it sits, the more unstable it can be, and that presents a lot of challenges.
Madden contractors wants to use a kiln. It's a process the workers are very familiar with. "We work only for Texas and Louisiana Highway departments making asphalt to build asphalt roads. We run 9 rotating kilns making asphalt every day," said Madden.
They're telling state leaders they have the know-how and the manpower to burn it safely. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to know if the plan is clean. According to Madden, they've scheduled a test burn for January 15 on the grounds of Camp Minden. It will be closely monitored by the Louisiana National Guard, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the EPA.
Six Explo employees were indicted in connection with the case. Three have since agreed to plead guilty and testify against the owners, David Smith and David Fincher and plant manager, William Wright.
A class action lawsuit has also been filed against the company citing property damage, loss of business and other losses related to the evacuation that took place following the discovery of the improperly stored propellant.