University of Hawaii studies chemical weapons dumped in ocean

Scientists from the University of Hawaii are currently collecting data on chemical weapons that were dumped in the ocean off Oahu decades ago by the U.S. Army.

The Army-funded project has the researchers sending submersibles to collect sediment, water and biological samples from depths of 600 feet or more near where the munitions were dumped, according to

The Army said that it will release a report on the study's findings, but does not expect it to be completed before 2015.

The military used an area approximately five miles south of Pearl Harbor to dump chemical munitions after the close of World II. Records show the Army dumped approximately 16,000 bombs of all types there in total.

Between 1919 and 1970, the ocean was commonly used as a dumping ground for excess munitions. Researchers from Texas A&M University recently warned that unexploded World War II-era ordnance dumped into the Gulf of Mexico poses a threat to oil drilling operations.

William Bryant, an oceanography professor from Texas A&M University, said that it was a relatively common practice for the United States and other governments to dump unused munitions and chemical weapons into the gulf after the war's end, according to The Daily Mail.

"These bombs are a threat today and no one knows how to deal with the situation," Bryant said, The Daily Mail reports. "If chemical agents are leaking from some of them, that's a real problem. If many of them are still capable of exploding, that's another big problem."