CAMP MINDEN, LA (KSLA) - A member of a citizens advisory group says he no longer has as many concerns about plans to dispose of nearly 16 million pounds of M6 propellant improperly stored at Camp Minden. But that still might not yet be true of residents near the burn site.
"The fact that we have the best technology available for destroying these materials, in terms of at least a combustion process, was definitely reassuring," Brian Salvatore said. As a member of a group that includes residents of Minden, Doyline and other areas, he's been keeping up to date with the explosives disposal process and listening to the fears and concerns of those who live near Camp Minden.
He says his concerns have mostly been calmed, but nearby residents remain a bit uneasy.
"It's going to be a tense process I think, and rightly so. Everybody cares," Salvatore said. But he expects those fears to ease as the project progresses.
"The more it goes on week by week, month by month for about the next year from now, people will start to breathe a sigh of relief."
It's taken nearly 4 years to get to this point of getting rid of nearly 16 million pounds of of M6 propellant found improperly stored at Camp Minden. The chamber in which the explosives will be burned officially is in place. Workers expect construction of the incinerator to be complete in a few more weeks.
"We're a solution to this problem, but we're going to do it in the most efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible way," Schellhase said. His company won the contract to to get rid of the explosive materials in 2012.
For at least 1.5 years, concerned residents of Doyline, Minden and even Shreveport have been advocating that the propellant be disposed in the safest manner possible. ESI is attempting to reassure them about the process that's been developed.
"The filter that we have in the process is going to clean up the air enough to be what they would have in a surgery room," Schellhase said.
ESI will start test burning the explosive materials in April. The actual disposal by incineration is expected to start June 1 and operate around the clock for about 9 months.