SERDP and ESTCP have funded researchers at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) to study contamination resulting from the use of explosives on military training ranges since 2006. The breadth of this funded research included the initial characterization of post-detonation energetic compounds in the environment (ER-1155, ER-1481, ER-2219, and ER-2220), the development of effective methods for disposal of excess propellants (ER-201323), and the development and optimization of sampling methods to determine energetics contamination on ranges (ER-200628 and ER-201329). The results of this work have established tailored, accurate, and defensible assessment methods for energetics contamination on training ranges, and they have saved the United States government millions of U.S. dollars in estimated cleanup costs.
In order to make the knowledge gained from these past and currently funded projects more accessible to many potential stakeholders, this web-based repository was developed and contains key knowledge on theory, methods, best practices, and data for assessing energetic contaminants on training ranges. Information is provided in the form of easy-to-follow annotated photo and video demonstrations collected from previous and ongoing funded projects. In addition, the project uses data from Donnelly Training Area as a model framework for making energetics contamination data available in the form of tables, sortable by range-relevant parameters such as munition type, and in the form of a GIS web app.
The release of some toxic energetic contaminants (e.g., TNT, RDX, HMX, DNT, and NG) to soils, surface water, and groundwater may affect range sustainment, as described under DoD Directive 4715.11. The development of new explosive formulations with unknown residual products (e.g., insensitive munitions), as well as the increased awareness of the toxicity of conventional formulations, requires stakeholders be familiar with the basic science of energetic contaminants and their methods of assessment. This repository serves as a primary knowledge source to range managers, regulatory agency representatives, acquisition program managers, and contractors on the risk posed by energetic contaminants and the best practices for their assessment.