The Department of Defense’s testing and training ranges are a critical asset for the military. Maintaining these ranges is essential for mission-readiness and to develop and test new weapons systems. Testing and training necessarily results in the introduction of munitions constituents and some heavy metals to surface soils. If these chemicals are transported to soil and groundwater, active training and testing on ranges may be affected. DoD directive 4715.11 ensures the long-term viability of operational ranges while protecting human health and the environment. Due to the unique challenges presented by munitions constituents, SERDP and ESTCP have invested in research in identifying and evaluating sources, characterizing fate and transport, addressing contaminant migration to groundwater sources, technologies for improved monitoring, and assessment of potential ecological impacts.
Approximately 2,270 species are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At-risk species are vulnerable to becoming listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Populations are often spatially structured. Understanding the effects of spatial structures such as sources and sinks, can be critical for successfully managing at-risk species. A SERDP-funded project led by Dr. Joshua Lawler at the University of Washington worked to develop an understanding of the relative importance of the factors that influence source-sink dynamics in general.
Many of you know SERDP and ESTCP through our work on remediation, either hazardous chemical contamination or unexploded ordnance, or elimination of hazardous materials from DoD industrial processes. Two of our Program Areas devote a significant portion of their resources to the sustainability and security of installations and access to ranges. Military installations and ranges serve as a platform for readiness and mission effectiveness. They must be efficient, safe, sustainable and adaptive, and available when needed.
Five new FY 2017 Munitions Response projects related to underwater munitions mobility were approved last fall by the SERDP Scientific Advisory Board and are in the initial stages of their work. Three of these new projects will involve measurements of munitions mobility in various settings, one will focus on a computational model to predict the onset of mobility, and the fifth will develop probabilistic representations of environmental conditions for sites of potential contamination.
Successful delivery, placement, and effectiveness of in situ treatment materials in active harbors has the potential to reduce costs, shorten recovery times, and provide more effective alternatives to traditional methods of remediation for a wide range of sites with contaminated sediments. Traditional remediation of sediments has involved removal by dredging, or isolation by capping. Removal actions may cause increased mobility and bioavailability of the contaminated sediments, while physical capping may not be practical in active harbors and navigable waterways.
Hexavalent chromium (chromate or Cr+6) is the key component for high‐performance corrosion‐inhibiting primers used across Department of Defense (DoD) weapons systems and platforms. This known carcinogen has been targeted by DoD for reduction since 2009, which resulted in a need to identify, test, validate and implement alternatives and applicable substrate surface preparations. Julia Russell, Brenna Skelley and their team from the Naval Air Warfare Center Patuxent River (NAVAIR) have developed a comprehensive evaluation protocol for development and application of chromate inhibited primers.
The Department of Defense (DoD) manages millions of acres of land for the purposes of training troops and testing weapons platforms to ensure military readiness. These lands are very unique among federal land management agencies in that very large and inaccessible parcels have been set aside as impact areas for various types of munitions and explosive ordnance. These lands are highly suitable as habitat for many threatened, endangered, and at-risk (TER-S) avian species across the country. DoD has both regulatory and stewardship responsibilities to manage and monitor for many of these species, which has proven difficult due to the inability to access these restricted areas on the ground.
Perchlorate, hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) are common and often co-mingled contaminants in soils and groundwater at military ranges worldwide. While in situ biodegradation of RDX and HMX and perchlorate individually have been demonstrated, remediation of co-mingled plumes has not been reported.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest single consumer of energy in the United States. It operates over 500,000 buildings and structures with diverse inventory encompassing barracks, commissaries, data centers, office buildings, laboratories, and aircraft maintenance depots. A majority of these bases are largely dependent on a commercial power grid that is vulnerable to disruption from cyber-attacks, aging infrastructure, weather-related events and direct attack.
Circular Synthetic Aperture Sonar (CSAS) is a promising technique to classify and identify underwater objects, such as submerged or buried unexploded ordnance. It is easy to imagine CSAS being used to develop local training data to support acoustic surveys of the more than 400 Formerly Used Defense Sites that are potentially contaminated with submerged unexploded munitions. In the case of particularly high-value targets this technique may even be used for the survey. Under this year's winning project, Dr. Jermaine Kennedy (NSWC-PCD) and Dr. Timothy Marston (APL-UW) developed very sophisticated sonar processing algorithms to produce acoustic images and thereby advance the usability of CSAS.