M6 disposal methods discussed at Camp Minden dialogue meeting

M6 disposal methods discussed at Camp Minden dialogue meeting

MINDEN, LA (KSLA) - Officials and citizens met in Minden to discuss how to dispose of 15 million pounds of M6 propellant artillery from the old Explo site at Camp Minden.

Doyline citizen Rebecca Shelley Sherrard is on the Camp Minden Dialogue Committee. She says that it is great to have the committee openly discussing each type of technology that could be used to clean up Camp Minden.

"No one has said no, everyone has been very open to our suggestions, we have all worked very hard. Especially the concerned citizens group," said Sherrard.

There are 6 possible option to get rid of the M6.The committee discussed their thoughts on the various alternatives of each process.

"It's important to these people, it's important to EPA that we get this done and get it done correctly," said Ron Curry, the Regional Administrator for Region 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Some of those ways include a super pressured water process and a contained burn - indoors. Something no one in the community wants.

"You've been providing us the science to move forward, away from open burn. We hear you," Curry addressed to the committee and citizens.

There is no single process that achieves everything wanted by the community and the agencies involved. They are still analyzing which way will be the best to use, but they think they are getting closer.

"I know we're going to have a better alternative than what we had. And I think after they look at everything, they've got our criteria, a guideline as to what we want them to go by as to what our concerns are, I think that they'll come up with a really good proposal," said Sherrard.

The processes include a Super Critical Water Oxidation process, Microwave Reactor, Rotary Kiln, Humic Acid Catalyzed Hyrolosis, Tunnel Furnace and an Indoor Contained Burn.

The facilitators of the committee will send out their findings Wednesday night, the group has until Thursday night to send back their comments. The facilitators will send the finalized report to the EPA on Friday.

Here are the pros and cons of each method: 

Super Critical Water Oxidation:

 - Positive factors: Proven on M6, non-incineration, limited air emissions, high destruction efficiency

 - Possible Challenges: Wastewater needs to be handled in an environmentally appropriate manner 

Rotary Kiln:

 - Positive factors: Has met/ exceeded high EU Emission standards

 - Possible challenges: Limited throughput, would require multiple units

Humic Acid Catalyzed Hydrolysis- Neutralization:

 - Positive factors: Proven on M6, rapid deployment, innovative process, vendor responsive to changes based on community concerns

 - Possible challenges: What to do with the wastewater?

Tunnel Furnace:

 - Positive factors: Ability to eliminate solids, two stage process with afterburner

 - Possible challenges: Meeting stringent air emissions requires very good air pollution control system, 16-19 months for whole process, Large permanent structure would need to be dismantled, No direct experience with M6 (but with other propellants, Total ash yield higher than other technologies, would require disposal in landfill

Contained Burn Indoors:

 - Positive factors: High throughput, use of afterburner

 - Possible Challenges: Meeting stringent air emissions, increased presence of products of incomplete combustion

Microwave Reactor:

 -Positive factors: Non-combustion thermal treatment, high temperature to ensure full destruction of material and organics, can cycle from one reactor to another and monitor in between

- Possible Challenges: Long lead time, fabrication of equipment and ability to get ESB approval, use of sand, volume that requires disposal

The super critical water oxidation supporters include Louisiana Progress Action and the LSU Superfund Division. A doctor with the division said it's a good way to get rid of the propellant, but warns there is still the possibility of air emissions.

Logistics, limiting the creation of waste and focusing of safety and stability were also topics of Wednesday's meeting.

The meeting was held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Minden Community House in the 700 block of Gladney Street.

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