The Long Climb to Remediation

by JoAnn Tischler, Assoc.; Woodward-Clyde Consultants, Denver, CO,
Bruce Huenefeld, Proj. Engr.; Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Commerce City, CO,
Gene H. Irrgang, Proj. Engr.; T-Thermal, Inc., Conshohocken, Pa,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 4, Pg. 68-71

Document Type: Feature article


During World War II, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado served as an Army manufacturing center for the production, then destruction, of mustard gas, napalm, cluster bomb mixtures, nerve agents and other military chemicals. Shell Oil Co. then manufactured pesticides and other agricultural chemicals on the site from 1952 to 1982. Basin F was built in 1956 to collect and evaporate the chemical wastewater coming from three manufacturing plants. By the time Basin F was decommissioned in 1982, its contents included a multiphase fluid and sludge with supersaturated levels of inorganic salts; organics such as pesticides; military agent by-products, degradation products and solvents; bound nitrogen; and copper, arsenic and other metals. Ultimately, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was placed on the Superfund National Priority List, and the basin's contents were linked to ground-water contamination. Now, however, after 12 years of studying both the liquid and potential treatment methods, an innovative downfired submerged quench incinerator has been selected to destroy the waste. The technique and its conceptual design have been approved by the regulatory agencies, EPA and the state of Colorado. Design is currently under way, with construction slated to begin in early 1992 and on-line testing and operations scheduled for early 1993. In addition, the project marks the Army's first recycling or recovery action linked to a major hazardous-waste cleanup. Spurred by community input, the cleanup will leave no secondary waste products anywhere.

Subject Headings: Chemical wastes | Aging (material) | Basins | Remediation | Mountains | Military engineering | Pesticides | Groundwater pollution | Rocky Mountains | Colorado | United States

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