Nerve agent traces detected after detonations Levels are not considered high enough to halt planned APG explosions

April 10, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Air monitoring after Tuesday's explosion of seven chemical rounds at Aberdeen Proving Ground found trace amounts of a nerve agent, but not enough to halt detonations scheduled for today, officials said.

Col. Roslyn M. Glantz, deputy installation commander at the proving ground, said 48 sensitive monitors near the detonation site displayed low levels of the nerve agent Tabun on Tuesday. Hand-held monitors did not pick up traces of the agent, she said.

Only three of the monitors detected traces after overnight testing, and monitors placed in homes five miles away in Kent County showed no presence of the agent, Glantz said.

Glantz said the Maryland Department of the Environment was notified of the findings and has given the green light for today's detonation of the remaining seven chemical rounds, which contain phosgene, a choking agent, and mustard, a blistering agent.

Proving ground officials are destroying 14 chemical rounds and 112 nonchemical rounds, some dating to the 1920s and deteriorating in a bunker.

"These rounds are very volatile," Glantz said. "We would rather have a controlled situation for detonation rather than have an uncontrolled situation with these rounds exploding in the bunker."

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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