Ribbon cutting ceremony marks start of contaminant extraction at Army ammunition plant

By Matthew Wheaton, Joint Munitions Command Public and Congressional Affairs OfficeDecember 6, 2022

A ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 6, marked the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. Front (left to right): Lt. Col. Chris Denton (Commander of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant), Col. Matthew Kelly (Commander of Army Environmental Command), Command Sgt. Maj. Tremayne Robbins (CSM of AEC).
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 6, marked the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. Front (left to right): Lt. Col. Chris Denton (Commander of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant), Col. Matthew Kelly (Commander of Army Environmental Command), Command Sgt. Maj. Tremayne Robbins (CSM of AEC). (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Lake City Army Ammunition Plant) VIEW ORIGINAL
A ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 6, marked the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. (Courtesy of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant)
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 6, marked the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. (Courtesy of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
The U.S. Army is committed to producing, handling and storing munitions responsibly in order to minimize the potential for harm to human health and the environment.  This commitment to sustainable environment stewardship is illustrated with the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. (Courtesy of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant)
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S. Army is committed to producing, handling and storing munitions responsibly in order to minimize the potential for harm to human health and the environment. This commitment to sustainable environment stewardship is illustrated with the completion of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. (Courtesy of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Lake City Army Ammunition Plant) VIEW ORIGINAL
An aerial shot of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An aerial shot of the insitu thermal conduction remediation (ISTCR) system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Lake City Army Ammunition Plant) VIEW ORIGINAL

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The U.S. Army is committed to producing, handling and storing munitions responsibly in order to minimize the potential for harm to human health and the environment. This commitment to sustainable environment stewardship is illustrated with the completion of the in situ thermal conduction remediation, or ISTCR, system at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri.

The ISTCR system includes heater and extraction wells to 55 feet below ground surface, electric service, high-density polyethylene natural gas and two-inch potable water underground service, as well as an above ground treatment system to collect the extracted contaminants for proper disposal offsite.

Using state of the art technology, the Army began an extraction process in early December. The end goal is to remove trichloroethylene — as a dense non-aqueous phase liquid — from the site at Lake City, which operated as a disposal pit for nearly 20 years and closed in 1979.

“This project is the continuation of the Army’s efforts to work towards remedying the contaminants completely, as well as tackle the long-term treatment costs by reducing the timeframe for cleanup,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Denton, Lake City’s commander.

“Because of the amount of contamination that’s there, it takes an aggressive approach to remediate it, and that’s what the Army has in store,” Denton added.

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the start of the remediation, which is being done in four phases.

Dewatering is the first phase in the process, and it will take 20 days to complete. During this timeframe, extraction wells will run to remove some of the groundwater contamination.

Thermal heating will take place in phase two. Below ground surface, the silty clay will be heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which will start to volatilize and migrate the contamination, and it can be extracted from the subsurface quite easily at that state.

About 85 days are needed to heat the surface to the desired temperature, which will be held at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for around 60 days or so. At the end of that step, confirmation sampling will begin to verify the contamination is reduced to below cleanup goals, and then at that point the fourth phase starts.

In the final step, the heating system will be turned off and naturally cool with continuing to extract contamination vapors for 15 days. The entire treatment process will be complete in about 180 days — targeting the summer of 2023 for completion. The Army will continue to monitor the area for years to come, and the project is one of many the Army has in store as it continues to modernize.

The Lake City project will reduce the estimated remedial timeframes from over 760 years to less than 70 years within the treatment zone and will save the Army over $24 million in the lifecycle costs for the site.

“This program illustrates the Army’s commitment to ensure compliance with federal, state, local environmental laws and regulations for all activities, and a proactive investment into a sustainable environmental and the local community,” said Sara Clark, LCAAP’s remedial project manager and environmental coordinator.

Lake City provides quality small-caliber munitions to the Department of Defense. It is one of more than a dozen subordinate installations under the Joint Munitions Command. JMC produces, stores, distributes, and demilitarizes conventional munitions for the DoD.