Ammunition detonated in APG cleanup

February 07, 2002|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

Aberdeen Proving Ground workers detonated yesterday the bulk of 208 mortars and rounds - some of which could contain chemical agent - that were the subject of a "time critical removal" this week on the Edgewood peninsula, installation officials said.

Members of the Technical Escort Unit, the military's elite chemical bomb squad, removed two 4-inch mortars and 206 75 mm rounds from the shoreline, said Robert Crouse, an occupational safety health specialist at APG.

Installation officials decided to remove the ammunition immediately because they were concerned that rounds could contain chemical agents, which were tested from the 1920s to the 1950s in the Edgewood area.

"There's a greater possibility that some of these could be chemical because of their location," said Steven R. Hirsh, remediation project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency. Hirsh added that the ammunition was not behind a security fence.

Four rounds contained liquid, which could indicate water seepage or chemical agents, Crouse said. They were moved to a bunker for analysis, he said.

The remaining rounds were detonated in a permitted area at the southern tip of the Edgewood peninsula, Crouse said.

The ammunition was discovered Jan. 30 by workers looking for old disposal pits and piles in an area called D-Field, on the installation's eastern shore, Crouse said.

Ken Stachiw, APG's chief of environmental conservation restoration, said shore erosion exposed the rounds, some of which were found in the water.

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