2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: strohman_scott@bah.com
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 09:16:37 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Questions
	As someone interested in the issues covered by this forum I respect the
level of concern and emotion put forth by those who participate in the
discussion.  I am, however, dismayed by the level of outright anger,
animosity, and distrust that exists between the various entities and
agencies that represent the various points of view.  Someone, after
reading many of the entries posted on this site could come away with the
impression that certain organizations within the government and private
sector are attempting to deliberately "destroy the world" and are only
being held back by the efforts of other government organizations and
private groups dedicated to "saving the world."  Neither side holds a
monopoly on integrity, or moral character, and not until the two sides
decide to really start working together can we hope to actually
accomplish our stated goals.
	With regard to several recent postings, I have a couple questions that
I would like to present for consideration.  I would also, where
appropriate, request constructive feedback and clarification.
	The first question deals with the activities surrounding the decisions
for cleanup of the Camp Edwards training area at the Massachusetts
Military Reservation.  In invoking the Safe Drinking Water Act as
justification for the "removal of unexploded ordnance," the decision
authority states that the presence of RDX in the permeable soil is a
significant threat to the Cape Code Aquifer.  That issue is not in
question, but I would make the point that the RDX present in the ground
is as a result of ordnance that properly functioned or detonated as part
of military training activities.  What percentage of RDX in the soil can
be directly attributed to the RDX contained in the ordnance items that
failed to function as designed?  As a result of that failure to
function, the majority of the RDX present within those ordnance items is
still contained within the item itself, and while hazardous in its own
right, is not a direct threat to the drinking water in its present
condition.  This question is essential because of the level of danger
and cost associated with the removal of all UXO from the impact area and
also the treatment of that UXO.  As some of you may not be aware of,
there are many specific types of UXO where no procedures exist for the
safe removal of the item from the site.  In many cases, the only option
is the destruction of the UXO item at the precise location where it is
found. While new technologies are reducing the numbers and types of
ordnance items that present this hazardous condition, there are still
hundreds of tons of UXO scattered around the country that fall into this
	My second question has to do with the reported methods of UXO removal
and treatment that is required to meet environmental standards.  An
entry by Mr. Joel Feigenbaum reports that all (100%?) UXO, both surface
and subsurface, will be removed from the impact areas.  He further
states that all this UXO will be treated within a demolition chamber
with the resulting emissions being passed through activated carbon.  I
would be very interested in information from any source that can provide
documentation and/or verification that the level of technology exists to
satisfy this requirement on the scale envisioned by the statement.  I
would also like to see the cost of such technology and also how it is
practically employed.  Having spent over 20 years in the explosive
ordnance disposal community, the last six year directly involved in the
research, development, testing, and evaluation of EOD/UXO technology I
have read many claims from manufacturers and universities researchers. 
Very few of these claims have been proven to be practical from a users
point of view, logistically supportable, or cost effective.
	I am sincerely interested in the safe removal and treatment of UXO from
the environment and hope to actually participate in the solution
development process.  However, we can only achieve the goal of a safer
and cleaner environment free of UXO contamination if we stop the mutual
distrust, personal agendas, unsubstantiated rhetoric, and incomplete
decision making process currently being practiced.
	Thank you for your time and the opportunity to voice this point of


Scott Strohman

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