New SERDP Initiatives on Treatment Technologies for Munitions Constituents
The Department of Defense’s testing and training ranges are a critical asset for the military; however, they present unique challenges for characterization, control, and treatment technologies. In FY2019, SERDP began funding two groups of projects to address (1) mitigation of the transport of munitions constituents from testing and training range sites and (2) treatment of wastes from munitions constituent manufacturing.
The first group of projects was funded to improve the DoD’s ability to mitigate transport of legacy and new munitions constituents from testing and training ranges to off site surface and ground waters. Selected projects include the following:
- Mr. Timothy Cary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (ERDC-CRREL) is studying the persistence of RDX in soil and surface run-off and the microbial detoxification pathways of 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO) to develop and test biotechnologies that can be deployed in the field to enhance RDX degradation in soils and reduce RDX in surface run-off ( Project Webpage).
- At ERDC, Dr. Fiona Crocker is leading a project focused on determining the ecological role of recently identified taxa of explosive-degrading bacterial strains in RDX and NTO biotransformation in soils and quantifying contaminant flux reduction achieved through bioaugmentation of soils with explosive-degrading bacterial consortium ( Project Webpage).
- Dr. Katerina Dontsova of the University of Arizona is focused on examining the surface transport of munitions formulations in solution and as particles to develop a conceptual framework for determining relevant transport and attenuation mechanisms for a particular site ( Project Webpage).
- At the University of Arizona, Dr. Jim Field is developing an understanding of the mineralization processes that will enable DoD to deploy microbial strategies for the complete biodegradation of insensitive high explosive (IHE) compounds ( Project Webpage).
- Dr. Craig Tobias at the University of Connecticut is focused on quantifying the magnitude of NTO and 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) loss, retention, and mineralization under conditions representing a wide range of surface water environments encountered in situ to provide kinetic parameters suitable for direct incorporation into fate and transport models for IHEs ( Project Webpage).
- At Villanova University, Dr. Wenqing Xu is developing technologies for simultaneously adsorbing and destroying munitions constituent residues using pyrogenic carbonaceous matter ( Project Webpage).
- Dr. Mark Fuller of APTIM Federal Services, LLC is developing a passive biofilter treatment technology to treat both legacy and IHEs in active testing and training range surface runoff ( Project Webpage).
The second cohort of projects was funded to develop cost effective options for treatment of wastes generated from munitions constituents manufacturing and load/assemble/pack (LAP) operations. Selected projects include the following:
- Dr. Paul Hatzinger at APTIM Federal Services, LLC is developing and optimizing a resilient treatment train for munitions constituents manufacturing waste that consists of a membrane bioreactor to remove a majority of the key components of the process streams, followed by a secondary process for removing intermediates, color, and remaining chemical oxygen demand in the effluent ( Project Webpage).
- At Northeastern University, Dr. Philip Larese-Casanova is adapting the design of a previously developed flow-through electrochemical reactor for the indiscriminate degradation of munitions constituents with diverse physicochemical properties within manufacturing wastewater ( Project Webpage).
- Dr. Jennifer Weidhass at the University of Utah is studying various treatment systems to determine the most efficient and cost-effective treatment train employing an integration of biotic and abiotic approaches to accomplish nearly complete remediation of target munitions ( Project Webpage).
- At the University of Arizona, Dr. Jim Field is demonstrating that reactive minerals in a sequence of reducing and oxidizing packed bed reactors can rapidly degrade NTO to safe end-products and determining whether the packed bed reactors can operate robustly over extended time periods ( Project Webpage).
- Dr. Brian Chaplin at the University of Illinois at Chicago is leading a project focused on utilizing a cost-effective reactive electrochemical membrane for the simultaneous degradation of various munitions constituents and IHEs from manufacturing wastewater ( Project Webpage).
Summaries of these research projects are available on the SERDP and ESTCP website and all reports originating from these efforts will be available from the project webpages.