Membrane Bioreactor System for Cost Effective Treatment of Munitions Constituents Manufacturing Wastes

Dr. Paul Hatzinger | Aptim Federal Services, LLC



The primary objective of this research project is to develop and optimize a resilient treatment train for munitions constituent manufacturing waste (MCMW) that consists of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) to remove a majority of the key components of the diverse process streams, followed by a secondary process (e.g., electrocatalytic or UV-peroxide) for removing intermediates, color, and remaining chemical oxygen demand (COD) in the MBR effluent. Multiple processes will be evaluated for the polishing treatment based upon the observed residuals from the MBR system under optimized conditions. The overall goal is to develop a flexible, cost-effective approach that can be used at explosives manufacturing and processing facilities to effectively treat complex wastestreams that may vary significantly in composition, and include both insensitive high explosives (insensitive high explosives [IHE]; e.g., NG, 2,4-dinitroanisole [DNAN], 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5- one [NTO]) and legacy explosives (e.g., RDX, HMX, TNT) as well as oxidants such as perchlorate (ClO4-) and explosive synthesis residuals like nitrate (NO3-).

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Technical Approach

The technical approach consists of (1) laboratory experiments to evaluate and optimize the MBR technology using simulated MCMW mixtures; (2) evaluation of residuals, and effective secondary technologies to treat these residuals in the MBR effluent; (3) improving our understanding of the complex MBR microbiology using state-of-the art molecular techniques; (4) testing of the combined system for treatment of actual MCMW waste; and (5) cost analysis for full-scale application.

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The results from this project will provide the Department of Defense (DoD) with an MBR system capable of treating current and future MCMW and other energetics wastes. This technology is anticipated to be applicable throughout the energetics lifecycle and to be capable of effectively treating complex wastestreams that include IHE and traditional explosives as well as other residuals. The MBR capability will enhance DoD modernization efforts for munitions from manufacture to demilitarization. 

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Paul Hatzinger

APTIM Federal Services, LLC

Phone: 609-895-5356

Program Manager

Environmental Restoration