ECBC successfully completes "drill and sample" testing and munitions processing

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center completed its "drill and sample" testing on July 17, which sought to inspect a Livens munitions for traces of phosgene, an agent used during World War I.

The sample testing was conducted safely. Phosgene was found on the premises during the construction of the Aberdeen Proving Ground last year and is being stored at the N-Field Bunker. Since the beginning of the installation last year, other munitions have been found and were sent to the Munitions Assessment and Processing Systems facility.

APG's ongoing Installation Restoration Program has unearthed many explosively-constructed, chemical munitions and now uses MAPS to process and analyze them safely. The MAPS facility is fairly new, as it was constructed in 2003 by Chemical Material Activity for the safe disposal of chemical munitions.

The facility transfers the ownership of the waste to the ECBC, where once a material is confirmed to be a munition, CBARR technicians remove the hazardous liquid from the munition compound and decontaminate it. The hazardous liquid is then placed in a specialty bottle, approved for transport by the Department of Transportation.

Phosgene in particular is more difficult to bottle, as its natural state is a gas. Experts capture the gas by chilling the shells of the munitions so they turn into liquid. In general, the entire process at MAPS of identifying the agent, bottling it and making the official reports on what was found takes about three days.

MAPS was created to support the ECBC's chemical-biological defense mission.