in view of the potential for exposure to CWM from contaminated media or shell fragments.


Under the definitions associated with the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) Munitions Response Program (MRP), CWM can be found as intact munitions and within partially exploded shells and fragments that may still contain MEC or munitions constituents.1

MEC CWM includes the CWM that is contained in ordnance, and it has both a chemical agent and an explosive hazard component. The munitions constituent would include agent found outside the ordnance, for example, agent leaked into and absorbed by soil; it would also include other hazardous constituents associated with the munition, including heavy metals, energetic compounds—TNT, for instance—and breakdown products of both agent and energetic compounds.

MEC CWM presents the greatest hazard because it contains both an explosive and a chemical agent hazard. Because the ordnance casing is made of steel, it is easily detected using common geophysical techniques.

The geophysical sensors used to detect MEC CWM are the same as those used for detecting conventional (high-explosive) MEC. The sensors used include magnetometers and active electromagnetic systems.

Government and private research has resulted in consistent improvements in the ability to detect MEC. These advances include improved sensors and signal processing, which in some cases allow us to “classify” or determine whether a buried object contains MEC or is a non-MEC object based only on the object’s geophysical signal without having to excavate it and identify it visually.

MEC CWM can be found individually or in mass burials. An example of where individual MEC CWM has been found is the former Camp Sibert, Alabama, Site 8, which was a CWM ordnance impact area. Some of the 4.2-in. mortars that were fired into Site 8 failed to function and remained in the subsurface to be detected individually, excavated, and disposed of.

Other MEC CWM is found in mass burials from previous disposal operations, as was the case at the Spring Valley site in Washington, D.C. Such mass burials are relatively easy to detect using geophysics because the multiple MEC CWM buried together present a large geophysical target. However, it is usually not possible to determine the contents of the subsurface-buried mass from the geophysical data because individual objects cannot be distinguished within the large buried mass.

CWM projects employ the geophysical technologies used for conventional MEC, which are adequate for detection of both individual MEC CWM and mass burials.

Munitions constituents that may be associated with CWM, on the other hand, are much more difficult to detect because the metal casing of the MEC is not present. Typically, sampling and either field or laboratory analysis is required to detect munitions constituents. Munitions constituents consisting of, for example, chemical agents, heavy metals, energetic compounds, or breakdown products of agent or energetic compounds that are absorbed onto or into soils, can be detected only by field or laboratory analytical techniques.

The suite of CWM agent detectors and monitors used in the field for detecting chemical agent and some breakdown products are described later in this report.2,3


PPE required to be worn on non-stockpile CWM projects is the same as the PPE approved by OSHA for other hazardous and toxic material handling operations. The various OSHA levels of PPE (Levels A, B, C, and D and OSHA-approved modifications) have been demonstrated to be adequate on numerous non-stockpile CWM projects, including projects at Camp Sibert, Alabama; Spring Valley, Washington, D.C.; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and for VX building demolition at Newport, Indiana.


Air monitoring for chemical agent is conducted whenever there is a risk that workers or the general public could become exposed to chemical agent during or due to site operations and whenever it is included as part of a comprehensive Work Plan to establish the policies, objectives, procedures and responsibilities for the execution of a site-specific response action. Detailed policies and safety and health requirements for RCWM response actions are contained in U.S. Army publications, including manuals, regulations, and pamphlets (U.S. Army, 2004c, 2004b, 2006, 2007b, 2007c, 2008b, 2008e). A large part of the RCWM response process uses the same response procedures required for other MEC. Therefore, RCWM response actions are conducted in accordance with MEC response procedures (U.S. Army, 2006, 2007b).


1Formal definitions of MEC and munitions constituents are in the Site Prioritization Protocol (SPP) at

2Karl E. Blankenship, FUDS Project Manager, Mobile District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “Remediation of Contaminated Soil at Camp Sibert, Alabama: The Installation Manager’s Perspective,” presentation to the committee on November 3, 2011.

3Herbert H. Nelson, Manager, Munitions Response Program Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, Department of Defense, “Geophysical Detection of RCWM: Capabilities and R&D,” presentation to the committee on January 17, 2012.

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