2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 20 Jul 2002 21:14:54 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Defense memo on Perchlorate
[The following Defense Department Memo on Ammonium Perchlorate
Contamination came to us indirectly, but it appears to be genuine. The
most significant section appears to be  "e," in which the Defense
components are instructed not to conduct "any environmental restoration
study or cleanup [for ammonium perchlorate] beyond sampling and analysis
without a regulatory driver." I recognize that it is difficult, in the
absence of promulgated standards, to take action where perchlorate
concentrations are marginal. But I fear that postponing all action until
the official standard-setting process is complete will only make
response more difficult and costly in the long run. It would make more
sense for Defense Department to prepare to remediate at least those
sites where concentrations exceed, or are likely to exceed, levels that
DOD itself agrees are hazardous.  If I'm reading the memo wrong, I'd
like to hear about it right away. - LS]"



SUBJECT: Interim Guidance on Sampling for Ammonium Perchlorate Contamination

With a high level of interest in potential drinking water contamination
from Ammonium Perchlorate, I am issuing this interim guidance on
sampling for Ammonium Perchlorate at Department of Defense (DoD)
installations. As you are aware, the US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is in the process of completing a risk assessment on Ammonium
Perchlorate that will lead to a reference dose (RfD) for Ammonium
Perchlorate. Once established, the Perchlorate RfD can be used for
conducting risk assessments for human and ecological exposures for
environmental restoration purposes and for setting a Federal drinking
water standard (i.e., maximum contaminant level under the Safe Drinking
Water Act). A few states are also taking actions on provisional
non-enforceable Ammonium Perchlorate risk or action levels.

While Ammonium Perchlorate is on track for future regulatory action at
both the national and state levels, it is important to note that a RfD
or enforceable regulatory standards have not been established, and
questions about Ammonium Perchlorate health effects remain. To maintain
a proactive DoD stance in absence of a Federal or state promulgated
regulatory driver, and to assist installations in responding to
regulatory requests to sample soil, ground water, and surface waters,
Components should follow the following guidelines:

a. Basis for Sampling. Appropriate installation level sampling and
analysis for Ammonium Perchlorate is authorized when validated by the
Component. Sampling for Ammonium Perchlorate will only be considered if
there a reasonable basis to suspect a potential presence of Ammonium
Perchlorate based on prior or current use, treatment, storage, or
disposal. Sampling without a reasonable basis is not authorized, as
there is little to be gained in expending compliance or environmental
restoration funds without a meaningful purpose.

b. Funding Sampling and Follow-On Actions. Components are to program,
budget, and use appropriate funding for Ammonium Perchlorate sampling,
analysis, and any necessary follow-on actions. Installations are to
conduct Ammonium Perchlorate sampling and analysis when appropriate
funding resources are identified and available. Environmental
restoration funding can only used for sites that meet Defense
Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) eligibility requirements in the
current version of the DERP Management Guidance. Installations may only
choose to do earlier voluntary sampling only if Ammonium Perchlorate is
suspected of affecting drinking water sources and within available
installation funding resources.

c. Analysis Method. At present, EPA Method 314.0 is the only approved
method for the analysis of Perchlorate in water. Please note that the
current acceptable EPA minimum reporting level (MRL) for this method of
4 ppb, using a MRL below the current EPA approved level could lead to
the detection of "false positives" from matrix interferences and
limitations of the analytical method. If a regulatory agency desires a
lower method MRL, then that agency needs to suggest a modified method
that meets all EPA quality control guidelines and approvals.

d. Conducting Sampling. Ammonium Perchlorate sampling plan will be based
on specific site conditions. If sampling is being conducted at request
of a regulatory agency, the installation is to develop a develop a
written agreement with the appropriate regulatory agency prior to
sampling that clearly describes an acceptable sampling approach and
potential further action to be taken based on the analytical results.
Regulatory agency requests must clearly state the reason for the
sampling request, the regulatory structure for the sampling and for
evaluation of analytical results, and regulatory agency expectations for
potential further actions. This request will then be the basis of the
written agreement mentioned above.

e. Follow-On Actions. At this time, it is premature to take further
action in absence of promulgated regulatory standards. I am not
authorizing any environmental restoration study or cleanup beyond
sampling and analysis without a regulatory driver. Similarly, a
promulgated regulatory standard will be needed for environmental
compliance action beyond sampling and analysis for Ammonium Perchlorate.

f. Regulatory Agency Access for Sampling. Components are authorized to
allow regulatory agency access to an installation to conduct sampling at
its expense and with an written agreement as described above. Split
sampling with regulatory agencies is strongly recommended.

Your proactive approach in planning and budgeting for Ammonium
Perchlorate sampling and analysis will put DoD in a better position to
comply with regulatory standards when they are established. My point of
contact is Mr. Shah A. Choudhury at ....

John Paul Woodley, Jr.

Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environment)


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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