TABLE 5-1 Partial List of Chemical Items Produced at RSA Ordnance Plant During the Second World War


Agent Item Quantity

Mustard (H/HS) 105-mm M60 rounds 1,770,000
155-mm M105, M104, M110 rounds 31,000
4.2-in. mortar rounds 54,000
100-lb. M47 and M70 bombs 560,000
Ton containers, 30- and 55-gal drums Unknown
Lewisite Ton containers Unknown
Phosgene 500-lb bombs (M78) and 1,000-lb bombs (M79) Unknown
White phosphorus 4.2-in. shells, 75- and155-mm shells 4,194,000
100-lb bomb (M46, M47) 162,000
M15 hand grenades 951,000

SOURCE: Terry de la Paz, Chief, Installation Restoration Branch, Environmental Management Division, RSA, Alabama, “Remediation of RCWM from Burial Sites,” presentation to the committee on November 2, 2011.

Between 1945 and 1950, major disposal actions were taken to destroy chemical munitions and agents, with most of the toxic chemical agents being processed by 1949. The agent production and ordnance plants at RSA were decontaminated and demolished, and the post-Second-World-War overseas ordnance, reject munitions produced at RSA, and “good” munitions produced there were disposed of, usually by burning in trenches.

Although mustard munitions in pits were burned twice with subsequent refilling of the pits, large quantities of contaminated and potentially contaminated materiel remain at 17 sites, where today there is still a possibility of encountering CWM. Based on excavation of a similar pit at Pine Bluff Arsenal Site 12 in 1987, about 10 percent of the original mustard-filled munitions may have survived the burning and might still need to be destroyed.3 Other munitions may have been partially destroyed, with residual quantities of toxic chemical agent remaining in the munitions, on metal surfaces, or within the soil or other fill materials.

Examples of chemical items that could remain in trenches and pits at RSA include the following:4

•  Rubberized mustard residue from thickened German mustard in burned 250-kg bombs: 1,660 bomb bodies with probable residue are estimated to remain;

•  H/HS in burned 250-kg and 500-kg bombs: 40-50 lb of heel may remain in each of an estimated 9,000 bomb bodies;

•  Possible concrete-encased 500-kg H/HS-filled bombs;

•  Large quantities of agent-contaminated metal such as burned-out bomb bodies, 55-gal drums, British land mines, and plant production equipment;

•  Over 10,000 CAIS bottles, both intact and damaged, containing surviving H/HS, and

•  Small quantities of CG-filled items.

The total quantities of remaining items cannot be known until source removal action is taken and disposal begins. However, based on archival research and interviews with former employees, there is a potential for significant quantities of munitions, both conventional and chemical, and chemical warfare-related items (e.g., drums and production equipment) to be found in various states within burial sites at RSA.5 These quantities have been assigned to the various SWMUs at RSA and each lot has been characterized by munition or container type (e.g., bomb, canister, mortar) and by agent content (e.g., H, GA, CG). The quantities that could be encountered are divided into three categories, which are defined in the footnotes, and are estimated as follows:

Intact items: 85,000-92,0006

Empty contaminated items: 844,000-855,0007

Empty noncontaminated items: 1,971,000-1,975,008

German Traktor rockets being prepared for disposal in a pit are shown in Figure 5-2.

German Traktor rockets being prepared for disposal in a pit are shown in Figure 5-2.

Processing of Unusual Items at Redstone Arsenal

The burial pits at RSA are expected to contain many items that NSCMP may not have encountered previously. For example, the “empty contaminated” category in the inventory of buried items includes these:9

•  Production plant equipment, chemical with HS, L, and WP: 91,400 items,

•  German Traktor rockets with GA and HN-3: 54 items,

image

3William R. Brankowitz, Senior Chemical Engineer, Science Applications International Corporation, “Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project Redstone Arsenal (RSA) Interim Historical Report,” presentation to the committee on January 18, 2012.

4Ibid.

5Ibid.

6An intact item is physically intact enough to hold most or all of the original agent content of the munition. These items will require agent destruction by a suitable technology (e.g., an EDS or an EDT).

7An empty contaminated item is a munition that has been opened and partially burned or decontaminated but can still provide a detectable air monitoring reading. These items will require further treatment to destroy any remaining quantities of chemical agent, smoke, or incendiary fill.

8An empty noncontaminated item is a munition that has been physically opened and burned or decontaminated to a point where no chemical agent, smoke, or incendiary chemical can be detected by air monitoring equipment. These items should be clean enough to not require further processing and can be disposed of as nonhazardous waste or sent to a smelter or other commercial disposal facility.

9William R. Brankowitz, Senior Chemical Engineer, Science Applications International Corporation, “Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project Redstone Arsenal (RSA) Interim Historical Report,” presentation to the committee on January 18, 2012.



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