2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Oct 2003 20:18:38 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Clearing the Smoke Around Weapons Emissions Components
The following can be viewed online at:
Clearing the Smoke Around Weapons Emissions Components
By Eleanore Hajian
U.S. Army Environmental Center

It may not always be detectable to the human eye, but the firing of a
weapon releases a number of substances into the air.

Exactly what those substances are and how much of them make it into the
atmosphere is currently being investigated.

An Army testing program designed to measure the levels of chemicals and
particles that go airborne when weapons discharge will soon produce the
largest and most accurate set of data on the subject to date.

Sampling of weapons used in the first phase of testing will provide air
emissions parameters for 99.9 percent of the conventional munitions used
in Army training during 1999, 2000 and 2001, based on early
calculations, said Erik Hangeland, chief of the Technology Branch at the
U.S. Army Environmental Center. In fiscal 2001 alone, the Army expended
235 million munitions.

The information gathered from the test results will help the Army
develop an accurate, scientifically sound picture of what is chemically
emitted into the air during munitions use and testing, Hangeland said.
“Preliminary data show that firing weapons releases much lower levels of
harmful air emissions than early models predicted,” he said.

With increased scrutiny from environmental regulators, the answers can’t
come soon enough, according to Hangeland. In at least one instance, at
Camp Edwards, Mass., concerns over air emissions resulted in an order to
stop live-fire training. Testing proved that contaminants of concern
were not being released, and training resumed (See Environmental Update,
Winter 2002).

The test results will also help the Army fulfill its environmental
reporting requirements, as well as assess the potential environmental
and health impacts from munitions use. The results will be submitted for
inclusion in AP-42, the Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized
inventory for emissions factors. This is expected to greatly improve the
accuracy of Army air emissions models and assist with air emissions
reporting and permitting required by laws such as the Emergency Planning
and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The testing has been conducted
in cooperation with EPA and exceeds regulatory standards for these types
of measurements.

Conventional weaponry being examined in the air emissions testing
program include small, medium and large caliber guns; smokes and
pyrotechnics; explosives; kinetic penetrators; mortars; and rockets and
missiles. Their discharge is analyzed and measured for 281 substances
such as particulate matter, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds,
carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and acid gases.

To test the weapons, the Army uses five specialized enclosures with
high-tech devices that gather air samples immediately following
detonation or discharge. Each enclosure is designed for specific types
of weapons. There is one for small-caliber firing point emissions,
large-caliber firing point emissions, smokes and pyrotechnics, and two
for explosives (fragmenting and non-fragmenting). The testing takes
place at the Aberdeen Test Center on Aberdeen Proving Ground and at the
West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Ground.

The Army anticipates presenting the results from the first phase of its
air emissions testing program to EPA for inclusion in the standardized
inventory later this year. Additional munitions will be tested during
the next two years.

CPEO: A DECADE OF SUCCESS.  Your generous support will ensure that our 
important work on military and environmental issues will continue.  
Please consider one of our donation options.  Thank you.

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force's mess at Lowry
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] UXO Team Supports Iraq Oil Restoration
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force's mess at Lowry
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] UXO Team Supports Iraq Oil Restoration

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index