From the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center:
Staff members from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit (CBARR) will assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in its efforts to destroy conventional munitions initially discovered in a neighborhood near Northwest Washington, D.C. Operations, which began today, Jan. 11, are expected to last less than two weeks.
ECBC’s T-30 Controlled Detonation Chamber (CDC) will be used to safely destroy the munitions, which were discovered during excavation and clean-up activities in a residential area near American University. The CDC, a commercial off-the-shelf technology from CH2M Hill, is designed to totally contain detonations in industrial processes and also for demilitarization of munitions.
“This is just one of many projects that helps further CBARR’s mission to perform chemical and biological operations in a safe, secure and environmentally sound manner,” said Tim Blades, deputy director of ECBC’s Directorate of Program Integration and CBARR team leader. “We are able to offer our partners, such as Army Corps of Engineers, both the knowledge of our staff and the access to state-of-art equipment to get the job done safely and effectively.”
To minimize impact to area residents and to nearby Sibley Hospital, the Army has transported the munitions to the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site at a safe secure location on federal property, where they will be destroyed. Hours of operation will be restricted to limit any effect on area residents.
“We can destroy one item every 20 or 30 minutes, and we anticipate 10-12 shots per day,” said Adam Baker, an ECBC chemical engineer. “Because there are adjacent neighborhoods, we are only authorized to operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.”
The transportable CDC is designed to contain explosive detonations and the fragments from those detonations. Considered a “box within a box,” the CDC’s components are fabricated from high quality steel, with 25 tons of sand filling the one-foot space between the two boxes. While the thick sand fill absorbs the shock from the detonation, the armor-plated interior walls prevent shrapnel damage to the chamber.
Recognized as industry leaders in the safe munition destruction, ECBC regularly provides support to partners all over the word, including previous work for USACE to destroy 25 suspected chemical items at Spring Valley in 2003.
“ECBC has provided a variety of support to this project. Not only are they working on destroying the items found at Spring Valley, but they are doing air monitoring for us during the ongoing investigations going on here,” said Todd Beckwith, USACE project manager for the Spring Valley site. “ECBC has been a valuable resource for us because they provide very specialized services that are not easy to find in other organizations.”
For more information about CBARR and ECBC, please visit http://www.ecbc.army.mil/.
ECBC Chemical Engineer Adam Baker (shown in black at right) explains how the Center’s Controlled Detonation Chamber is used to safely destroy munitions during a Jan. 6 media day hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). ECBC’s Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit (CBARR) is supporting USACE in its efforts to destroy convention munitions discovered in a residential area near American University. The two-week project began Jan. 11.