This project investigated the degree to which underwater military munitions (UWMM) pose a risk to the aquatic environment. UWMM may contain munitions constituents (MC) such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), which are among the most widely-used high explosives. If UWMM become corroded or are breached, the fill material may leak or dissolve into the surrounding environment, potentially adversely affecting the exposed biota. Due to the high cost and complexity associated with sampling MC at UWMM sites, detailed and reliable information about MC in water, sediment and biota is scarce; temporal and spatial uncertainties persist. The compilation and examination of available data revealed that MC concentrations in water and sediment were largely below detection. A few samples indicate that contamination is highly localized near the UWMM. Fate and transport models predicted very low concentrations of MC in the water column at UWMM sites. Available toxicity data derived for freshwater and marine fish, invertebrates and autotrophs were compiled and species sensitivity distributions were derived. Risk to biota was determined to be low at UWMM sites based on a comparison of toxicity data with measured or modeled site concentrations.
"Validation of Passive Sampling Devices for Monitoring of Munitions Constituents in Underwater Environments" by Mr. Gunther Rosen
As a result of military training and weapon testing activities, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and discarded military munitions (DMM) are present in underwater environments, which may result in the release of MC such as TNT and RDX to the water column and sediments. The purpose of this ESTCP project was to optimize and field-validate a commercially available in situ passive sampling device, the Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler (POCIS), for detecting and quantifying MC underwater. POCIS provide integrative, continuous sampling in situ, and have ultra-low detection limits, compared to traditional grab sampling methods. Sampling rates for common MC were verified or refined based on common parameters (e.g., flow velocity, biofouling) that can influence uptake. Results will be presented from a controlled field validation study and demonstration at a former Navy training range (Vieques, Puerto Rico). Data will be compared with risk thresholds derived using recently updated species sensitivity distributions for MC. POCIS technology can provide substantial costs savings by avoiding unnecessary underwater ordnance removal due to potentially overly conservative assumptions of ecological risk.
Dr. Todd Bridges is the U.S. Army’s Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science. He currently serves as the Director of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)’s Center for Contaminated Sediments and is the Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dredging Operations Environmental Research Program. Todd’s primary areas of research activity at the ERDC focus on (1) the science and engineering of sustainable infrastructure development, (2) the development of risk and decision analysis methods applied to water resources infrastructure and environmental systems and (3) contaminated sediment assessment and management. Todd has served as the Principal Investigator on several research projects related to sediment toxicology, contaminant bioavailability and sediment risk assessment and management. Todd has published more than 60 journal articles and book chapters, as well as numerous technical reports. He received his B.A. in 1985 and M.A. in 1988 in Biology/Zoology from California State University, Fresno and his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from North Carolina State University in 1992.
Dr. Guilherme (Gui) Lotufo is an Aquatic Biologist with the U.S. Army Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His primary research interests are in aquatic and sediment ecotoxicology. For the past 18 years, Dr. Lotufo has conducted basic and applied research for the Army primarily in support of the contaminated sediment, dredging and Environmental Quality Technology (EQT) programs. Most of his research relates to sediment quality assessment, bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic compounds in aquatic environments, and ecological risk assessment. He has expanded his expertise to numerous investigations of the aquatic and terrestrial toxicology of munitions constituents. Dr. Lotufo has maintained active collaborations with leading national and international research organizations and has authored 78 peer-reviewed paper and book chapters. Dr. Lotufo was born in Brazil and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Sao Paulo, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Louisiana State University.
Mr. Gunther Rosen is an Aquatic Biologist with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) in San Diego, California. His primary research interests are in aquatic and sediment ecotoxicology. For the past 18 years, Gunther has conducted basic and applied research for the Navy primarily in support of improved management of contaminated discharges and sediments. His research focuses on understanding the bioavailability and toxicity of DoD-relevant contaminants on marine biota, and the development, or demonstration and validation, of technologies to improve environmental quality assessment. He regularly publishes in peer-reviewed journals, and oversees projects across a wide range of related topics including metal bioavailability, stormwater impacts, in situ assessment and remediation, and underwater munitions, many of which have been supported by SERDP and ESTCP. Mr. Rosen received a Bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1993 and a Master’s degree in Aquaculture from Oregon State University in 1998.