ECBC chemical engineer Adam Baker explains how the Controlled Detonation Chamber is used to safely destroy munitions Jan. 6. ECBC is supporting the U.S. Corps of Engineers to destroy conventional munitions discovered in a Washington residential area.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- U.S. Army scientists are destroying conventional munitions discovered in a northwest Washington residential area.

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the project, which started Jan. 11 and will take about two weeks.

ECBC's T-30 Controlled Detonation Chamber will be used to safely destroy the munitions, which were discovered during excavation and clean-up work near American University. The chamber contains detonations in industrial processes and during demilitarization of munitions.

The Army has transported the munitions to a secure federal property, Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site, to minimize impact to residents and nearby Sibley Memorial Hospital.

"We can destroy one item every 20 or 30 minutes, and we anticipate 10 to 12 shots per day," said Adam Baker, an ECBC chemical engineer.

Tim Blades, deputy director of ECBC's Directorate of Program Integration, is helping to lead the effort as the team leader of the Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit.

"This is just one of many projects that helps further CBARR's mission to perform chemical and biological operations in a safe, secure and environmentally sound manner," Blades said. "We are able to offer our partners, such as Army Corps of Engineers, both the knowledge of our staff and the access to state-of-art equipment to get the job done safely and effectively."

The CDC's components are made from high-quality steel, with 25 tons of sand filling the one-foot space between two boxes. The sand absorbs the shock from the detonation, and the armor-plated interior walls prevent shrapnel damage to the chamber.

ECBC destroyed 25 suspected chemical items at Spring Valley in 2003 with the USACE.

"ECBC has provided a variety of support to this project," said Todd Beckwith, USACE project manager for the Spring Valley site. "Not only are they working on destroying the items found at Spring Valley, but they are doing air monitoring for us during the ongoing investigations going on here."

Page last updated Wed January 12th, 2011 at 10:36