Ecological Risk, Fate, and Transport of Munitions Constituents in Aquatic Environments

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Deployment of a POCIS sampler next to UXO at the USN Vieques Training Range, Puerto Rico ( ER-201433)

Munitions are present at numerous current and former Department of Defense sites.  Many active and former military installations have ranges and training areas that include aquatic environments, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal zones. In addition, until 1970, it was accepted practice to dispose of wastes — including excess, obsolete and unserviceable munitions — in deep water areas. Munitions are also present in water bodies around the world due to combat and training operations. 

SERDP and ESTCP have actively funded research, demonstration, and validation of projects that lead to an improved and concise understanding of the fate and environmental risks of chemical constituents that are released from munitions present at underwater military munitions sites. Accurately identifying ecological risks associated with military-unique compounds has been a Program priority since inception.

Two recent key investments have been to (1) provide a comprehensive review document, database, and modelling tools to address the environmental risks posed by munitions constituents ( ER-2341), and (2) develop advanced tools capable of detecting low levels of those constituents that leak from unexploded underwater ordnance ( ER-201433).