G Transportation of Chemical Warfare Materiel

There have long been significant concerns with the transportation of chemical warfare materiel. These concerns have been one of the driving forces behind the development of transportable treatment systems by the Army. This section presents an overview of transportation alternatives and related issues for the non-stockpile program.

TRANSPORTING NON-STOCKPILE ITEMS TO TREATMENT OR STORAGE FACILITIES

Transporting Agent/Untreated Non-Stockpile Items

One option is to transport untreated non-stockpile CWM to the closest available mobile treatment system, regional treatment facility, or other fixed site treatment facility, including stockpile treatment facilities. This would prevent the need to make the substantial investment of time and resources to move transportable facilities to every CWM location, especially for small quantities of chemical agent identification sets (CAIS) or other NSCWM that are discovered in remote locations. Regardless of the intended destination, such transportation would, however, require compliance with the stringent laws and regulations applicable to any chemical warfare materiel.

Legal Requirements Specific to CWM

There are serious restrictions to moving any quantity of CWM under P.L. 91-121 and P.L. 103-337. As far back as 1969 (P.L. 91-121), Congress placed substantial restrictions on transportation of CWM, including requiring advance notification and coordination of shipments with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Congress, unless under emergency conditions. In 1995 Congress (P.L. 103-337) placed restrictions on moving non-stockpile CWM out of any state except to the closest permitted CWM storage facility, and then only under very strict conditions. Public concern with transportation has effectively foreclosed even this option except under extraordinary situations.

Specific requirements for transporting CWM include the following:

  • DOD must first make a determination that the proposed transportation is necessary in the interests of national security.

  • DOD must present its transportation plan to the Secretary of HHS and then implement any additional measures recommended by HHS.

  • DOD must provide a notification at least 10 days before each shipment to Congress and to the governors of each state through which the CWM will be transported.

  • The President may make a determination that the HHS recommendations would have the effect of preventing transportation and may override the HHS recommendations based on national security.

  • P.L. 91-441 (1970) provides an exemption from the above review and reporting requirements if the CWM is determined to pose an immediate threat to health and safety.

THE ARMY’S TRANSPORTATION PLANS

The Army plans for complying with legal requirements and transporting CWM are outlined in its Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (U.S. Army, 2001).



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G Transportation of Chemical Warfare Materiel There have long been significant concerns with the transportation of chemical warfare materiel. These concerns have been one of the driving forces behind the development of transportable treatment systems by the Army. This section presents an overview of transportation alternatives and related issues for the non-stockpile program. TRANSPORTING NON-STOCKPILE ITEMS TO TREATMENT OR STORAGE FACILITIES Transporting Agent/Untreated Non-Stockpile Items One option is to transport untreated non-stockpile CWM to the closest available mobile treatment system, regional treatment facility, or other fixed site treatment facility, including stockpile treatment facilities. This would prevent the need to make the substantial investment of time and resources to move transportable facilities to every CWM location, especially for small quantities of chemical agent identification sets (CAIS) or other NSCWM that are discovered in remote locations. Regardless of the intended destination, such transportation would, however, require compliance with the stringent laws and regulations applicable to any chemical warfare materiel. Legal Requirements Specific to CWM There are serious restrictions to moving any quantity of CWM under P.L. 91-121 and P.L. 103-337. As far back as 1969 (P.L. 91-121), Congress placed substantial restrictions on transportation of CWM, including requiring advance notification and coordination of shipments with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Congress, unless under emergency conditions. In 1995 Congress (P.L. 103-337) placed restrictions on moving non-stockpile CWM out of any state except to the closest permitted CWM storage facility, and then only under very strict conditions. Public concern with transportation has effectively foreclosed even this option except under extraordinary situations. Specific requirements for transporting CWM include the following: DOD must first make a determination that the proposed transportation is necessary in the interests of national security. DOD must present its transportation plan to the Secretary of HHS and then implement any additional measures recommended by HHS. DOD must provide a notification at least 10 days before each shipment to Congress and to the governors of each state through which the CWM will be transported. The President may make a determination that the HHS recommendations would have the effect of preventing transportation and may override the HHS recommendations based on national security. P.L. 91-441 (1970) provides an exemption from the above review and reporting requirements if the CWM is determined to pose an immediate threat to health and safety. THE ARMY’S TRANSPORTATION PLANS The Army plans for complying with legal requirements and transporting CWM are outlined in its Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (U.S. Army, 2001).

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It includes two potential modes of transportation for off-site shipments of CWM: (1) military aircraft and (2) truck. Choice of mode is based on distance to be transported and the quantity of CWM. Military aircraft is preferred, including both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. Helicopters are used if the distance is within the range of the helicopter without refueling or to move the CWM from the location where it is found to a military airfield for shipment by fixed-wing aircraft. Trucks could be used for transportation from the recovery site to a military airfield instead of helicopters. The Army plans also allow for trucks to be used for the entire distance from recovery site to the eventual treatment or storage facility, but only if air transportation to the site is not possible or practical. Other components of the Army’s transportation plans include the following: Packaging—the Army will transport in the same container as stored unless the CWM is in an unapproved container, in which case it will be repackaged into a DOT-approved container or overpack. The overpacked non-stockpile CWM will be checked with air monitors for leaking or contamination before being placed on the aircraft or truck. Three escort vehicles, each staffed with two military personnel, will accompany the truck movements. Military emergency response personnel will be placed on alert during each shipment and be ready to implement the emergency response plan for each shipment. A route-specific transportation plan will be prepared for each shipment, including plans for packaging, escorts, notifications, monitoring, mode of transport, emergency response, and routing. The transportation plan will be submitted to the HHS, Congress, and applicable states within the 10-day legal notice time and will be preceded by a site-specific and route-specific hazard analysis. GENERAL HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS In addition to the plans described above, the Army must comply with applicable federal and state regulations for the transport of hazardous materials. The primary governing body of regulations is the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) administered by DOT and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) administered by EPA. Any potentially hazardous material must be tested to determine whether it meets DOT’s criteria (explosive, corrosive, flammable, radioactive, etc.) for a hazardous material. Once a material is determined to fall within one or more of DOT’s hazard classes, 49 CFR then prescribes shipping paper, packaging, marking, labeling, placarding and other operational requirements that apply to that material. If the material is also a waste material intended for treatment or disposal it is subject to RCRA transport requirements. Fortunately, EPA and DOT have a joint agreement that helps to avoid regulatory duplication. EPA has ruled that individuals who generate or transport hazardous waste and who have complied with all applicable DOT hazardous materials regulations, are considered compliant with EPA hazardous waste transport regulations as long as they have obtained an EPA identification number and follow EPA manifest requirements. Most states have adopted the federal HMTA and RCRA regulations, but some have additional restrictions. Most of the additional state restrictions pertain to routing restrictions, notification, public right-to-know laws, curfews, and size and weight restrictions. Five states have established specific routing requirements for RCRA hazardous wastes—Colorado, New Jersey, Idaho, Kansas, and Rhode Island. New Jersey is the only state that has requirements specific to the transport of CWM. It should be noted that DOT regulations provide an exemption from portions of its packaging regulations for hazardous materials offered for transport “by, for or to DOD” (49 CFR 173.7(a)) as long as the packaging is in compliance with DOD AR 700-143. DOD also has established its own set of hazardous material regulations that are considered by DOD to provide a level of safety equal to or greater than DOT regulations. One set of DOD regulations is especially pertinent here—DOD TM 38-250, which provides guidance and procedures for preparing hazardous materials by military aircraft and DOD AR 95-27 for transporting hazardous materials by military aircraft. DOT regulations require that all hazardous materials be properly packaged, marked, labeled, and placarded depending on the type and quantity of material. Most of these requirements flow from the assigned shipping name for the material. The shipper assigns the shipping name and hazard classification after tests have been conducted on the material. The Army believes the recovered CWM would fall under one of two shipping names: (1) waste ammunition, toxic, nonexplosive, without burster or expelling charge, nonfuzed (ID Number UN2016), and (2) waste ammunition, toxic with burster, expelling charge, or propelling charge (ID Numbers UN0020 and UN0021). Based upon this classification, 49 CFR provides detailed instruction as to packaging and other rules that will apply to each shipment of CWM. Transporting Treated Non-Stockpile Items The Army’s intent is to treat NSCWM on-site using mobile treatment systems such as RRS, SCANS, and EDS and then to transport the resulting waste to a TSDF, including a stockpile CDF. The exception to this would be the NSCWM

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found on-site at Pine Bluff and Aberdeen. These NSCWM would be treated at the PBNSF and MAPS facilities respectively, thus not requiring off-site transportation. The waste generated by the mobile treatment systems will still include a substantial volume of waste that may be regulated as hazardous, including neutralent wastes, other industrial chemicals, and various liquid and solid wastes. The Army has conducted bench-scale tests to determine the likely constituents of RRS, SCANS, and EDS waste streams. The composition of the neutralent wastes may include a number of chemicals that are regulated for transportation as both RCRA hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials and thus will be subject to applicable transportation regulations. The tests show, however, no indication that any of the neutralent waste constituents could not be transported as routine hazardous materials and/or hazardous wastes under existing laws and regulations as long as they are properly packaged, marked, manifested, and shipped. Thus, based on the information provided by the Army, the transportation of neutralent wastes from the RRS, SCANS, and EDS should not be subject to any restriction beyond the applicable EPA and DOT and associated state regulatory requirements. However, one potential issue that could arise is the public perception related to the residual chemical agents from the EDS waste streams. Although these will be in extremely small amounts, there is the potential for the public to continue to view the overall neutralent waste mixture as tainted with chemical agent and, therefore, of special concern. TRANSPORTING MOBILE TREATMENT SYSTEMS TO NON-STOCKPILE CWM LOCATIONS The Army plans to transport the mobile systems, including RRS, EDS, and SCANS, to the recovered CWM site using the most appropriate modes, including by air. Truck transport is likely to be used for transporting the system to and from air, rail, and water terminals, as needed. System components will be enclosed in trailers and placed in standard truck trailers. Special permits may be required for some components that result in overlength or overweight trucks. The Army will conduct route-specific analyses to ensure that roadbeds, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure are suitable for the truck configurations to be used. The RRS system is expected to require a total of six tractor-trailer combinations to deliver the entire system to the non-stockpile CWM site. The EDS system is expected to require three tractor-trailer combinations. The time for deployment of these systems could range from several days to several weeks, depending on the location of the mobile system at the time it is dispatched and the location of the recovered CWM. While the overall logistics of these systems is certainly not unusual, the Army will probably have to conduct careful scheduling to ensure that the movement of these systems does not result in disruption to the traveling public. This is especially true of the RRS, where a six-tractor-trailer “convoy effect” could create traffic problems in certain geographic locations (mountain passes, tunnels, winding roads, etc.) and during peak travel times (rush hour in urban/suburban areas). The Army says it plans to implement mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts. This may include avoiding certain congested roadways, rush hours, and even compensating for improvements to local traffic safety measures and road improvements. REFERENCE U.S. Army. 2001. Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Vol. 1. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.: Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization.

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