A newish CRS report titles Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection briefly discusses the Army Chemical Corps decision to dispose of its wastes through deep-well injection. The CRS report describes the process, that lead to
an M 4.8 earthquake that struck northeast Denver, on August 9, 1967 was generally accepted as the largest recorded human-induced earthquake in the United States. The M 4.8 earthquake was part of a series of earthquakes that began within several months of the 1961 start of deep-well injection of hazardous chemicals produced at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal defense plant. The earthquakes continued after injection ceased in February 1966.21 The disposal well was drilled through the flat-lying sedimentary rocks into the underlying older crystalline rocks more than 12,000 feet deep, and injection rates varied from 2 million gallons per month to as much as 5.5 million gallons per month.
I recently came across this short film titled The Devil’s Bargain created by students whose school is in proximity to RMA:
Confusing letters between the RMA Subcommittee and the EPA on 10 x -6 risk and Superfund.
Readers are advised to scan over 40 CFR 300 before reading our letters; our assumption was that cleanup standards/cancer risk for RMA would follow 10 x -6 as outlined in the National Contingency Plan, not 10 x -4 as applied to the Arsenal and in many CERCLA cleanups.
History, lots of history…
- The Blue Book (Parts 1 and 3 not included).
- CDPHE  Citizen Health Summary.
- CDPHE press release on the 10th Circuit decision.
- Chemical Agent Program History [no author – a contractor doc?].
- City and County of Denver comments on the Onpost proposed plan.
- Colorado Dept. of Health , Chemicals & Spills.
- Colorado Dept. of Health , Concerns, Offpost Proposed Plan.
- Conceptual_Agreement, Sierra Club comments, .
- Corrective Action Management Unit, Sierra Club comments to CDPHE, : The Arsenal was one of the first federal facilities to reinvent cleanup via the CAMU. It is my understanding the original intent of the CAMU was to provide a framework for the development and use of alternative and innovative technologies by allowing flexibility in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Land Disposal Rule (LDRs). But at one time, the use of CAMU subverted the LDRs rule by allowing untreated dioxin laden waste landfilled without treatment. This capricious misapplication of the rule is contrary to the law, and was not the intent of Congress, the EPA and the Colorado Hazardous Waste Commission which promulgated LDRs. EPA changed requirements in 2002 [see 3.3 of this EPA doc].
- Department of the Army , Review and Analysis.
- Draft EIS, USFWS wildlife refuge, Sierra Club comments to USFWS .
- Daigle v. Shell Oil.
- EPA Factsheet on RMA,  | EPA Q&A on the SQI [Submerged Quench Incinerator].
- EPA , Operation of the Basin F Liquid Incinerator.
- Hazardous Spills and Leaks .
- History of Basin F.
- History of Building 1727.
- History of the Complex Trenches.
- History of the Hydrazine Blending and Storage Facility [owned by the Air Force but operated by RMA from 1962-82].
- History of the M1 Settling Basins.
- History of the Motor Pool area.
- History of the NW Boundary System.
- History of Rocky Mountain Arsenal .
- Installation Action Plan [March, 1997; no author].
- Kuznear, Casimir and Trautmann, William L. History of Pollution Sources and Hazards at Rocky Mountain Arsenal [September 1980].
- Labaton, Stephen. [1987, Nov. 16]. Business and the Law; Big Courtroom For Toxic Web. The New York Times.
- Larry Land testimony [100th Congress, 1st session, H.R. 816 allowing rancher Larry Land, to bring suit against the Army for DIMP (diisopropylmethyl phosphonate, a byproduct of Sarin) contamination and related health problems].
- Rep. Pat Schroeder  requesting waste history from the Army.
- RMA waste to Fountain Landfill [n.d.].
- Program Manager for Demil of Chemical Materiel, Project Eagle, Phase II, Disposal of Bulk GB, M34 Cluster .
- Program Manager RMA Contamination Cleanup, Rocky Mountain Arsenal: An Organizational Historical Perspective .
- Program Manager for Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Authorized Access to and Allowable Activities at Rocky Mountain Arsenal .
- South Plants Remediation Survey.
- State of Colorado comments on the endangerment assessment.
- State of Colorado’s Conceptual Cleanup Agreement press release from Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler .
- Toxic Tours at Rocky Mountain Arsenal [Sierra Club, 1998] | Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Arsenal Subcommittee letter regarding school tours to view wildlife during Superfund cleanup activities.
- Use and Storage of 2,4-D Spraying History.
- Waste Disposal, A National Problem [author unknown; info on deep well injection, the basins, and pollution].
- Why We Need Good Info to Cleanup Bad Places.
Perhaps the most controversial party to RMA cleanup, on April 30, 1952, Shell Oil purchased Julius Hyman & Company, which manufactured “high-potency insecticides.” Hyman officially became integrated into Shell on January 1, 1955 [see Kendall Beaton’s Enterprise in Oil: A History of Shell in the United States, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957].
A few scanned files:
- Ben Nighthorse Campbell  calls for Shell to cleanup RMA | Shell responds
- The (infamous) Blue Book (Parts 1 and 3 not included).
- Colorado Department of Health to Shell: Cease and Desist, 
- Colorado Department of Health to Shell regarding “unauthorized discharge of pollutants” 
- Congresswoman Pat Schroeder asking the Secretary of the Army for records on Shell releases 
- Cooperative Agreement between the Colorado Wildlife Federation, the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, Shell Oil Company, the U.S. Army Program Manager’s Office at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Diana Hembree and William Kistner’s Shell Game article on No Pest [Vapona] strips that were once manufactured at RMA [E Magazine, December 1992] | Denver Post article written by Mark Obmascik Vapona & testing on infants [missing the second page, so head to your local library]
- Maret, Why We Need Good Info to Cleanup Bad Places
- Shell, Declaration of Covenants 
- Shell Oil Co. v. Winterthur Swiss Ins. Co
- Shell responds to reporter Mark Obmascik’s Denver Post articles on cleanup costs | Holmes, Roberts & Owen’s letter to the editor defending Shell’s involvement as a Principle Responsible Party (PRP)
- Shell’s Concepts in Remediation 
- Shell’s “Statement of Settlement Issues [September, 1994]
In 2000, a press release was drafted from us gals in Sierra Club and the Chem Weapons Working Group (CWWG ) asking the Army to consider alternate means of disposing of sarin bomblets. At the time, the Army was using open detonate “technology” for dealing with potentially unstable materiel, setting off the bomblets in the Arsenal acreage. While we understood the volatility of these weapons and urgency of disposal, open air detontation of Sarin bomblets compromised air quality, public health, and the safety of neighborhoods surrounding RMA.
After much discussion between Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), Army, and the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency’s Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project (NSCMP), the Explosive Device System (EDS) was brought to the Arsenal from its testbed in Porton Down, UK, as an alternative technology to replace open detonation of bomblets and crude air and weather monitoring.
A huge part of the EDS story involves the NSCMP in providing me with an on the ground education in understanding programmatic authority and other issues involved in using the EDS at RMA. Below are behind the scenes conversations between the CDPHE and myself about the bomblets, NSCMP authority, and the EDS:
Also relevant to the EDS discussion is the NSCMP’s Survey and Analysis Report, (2nd ed.); note the section on the Arsenal, but yet the NSCMP’s role was relegated to observer status in Arsenal cleanup. This was of constant amazement (and consternation) to many citizens who served on the Arsenal’s Restoration Advisory Board and the Site Specific Advisory Board. The existence of this report – issued BEFORE the Arsenal’s Record of Decision – would have influenced a better informed cleanup and indeed strengthened the programmatic authority of the NSCMP in working on other nonstockpile sites throughout the country. The history of NSCMP participation on former chem weapons sites remains compelling case study into (I think) DoD, and specifically, Army culture.
- Army on the Integrated Endangerment Assessment,1993
- Avian Mortality, 1952
- Biota Remedial Investigation and Comprehensive Monitoring Summary [CDPHE to the Army, 1992] | another doc on the subject 
- Building 111 bird deaths [Rec’d via FOIA, 1994] | USFSW to the Army on Building 111 bird deaths, 1994
- Cooperative Agreement between the Colorado Wildlife Federation, Shell, U.S. Army, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- EPA to the Army on the Endangerment Assessment
- EPA to the USFWS and USFWS on the Detailed Analysis of Alternatives [somehow these docs melded together during scanning]
- Final EIS Wildlife Refuge [TOC & summary only] | Sierra Club comments
- Fortuitous samples, [obtained under FOIA, 1993]
- Fortuitous sampling chart, USFWS ; by species, probable cause of death.
- Kestrel Briefing Statement, USFWS
- Necropsy study [1993, obtained under FOIA].
- Restoration Advisory Board [RAB] April 6,1995 minutes that contains good info on fortuitous sampling
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Act of 1992
- Sciple, Study of avian mortality on three lakes @ RMA, [1952)]
- Shell on fortuitous sampling, 
- USFWS letter to EPA regarding biomonitoring, 
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository: Draft EA for a crematorium @ RMA
Very little information has been released by the Army on the health of former Rocky Mountain Arsenal workers. I wondered about this…but then I began to study secrecy. Late one September night as I was reading Chapter 13 of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, my eye caught the following paragraph and subsequent footnote(s) [emphasis-added]:
In the case of research related to chemical and biological warfare, the military issued a secret edict that published articles be cleansed of any reference to military purpose.  In many cases the opportunity to obscure the full purpose of research by careful wording was obvious.
Footnotes to the above quote:
70. W. G. Lalor, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Secretary, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Chief of Staff, U.S. Army et al., 3 September 1952 (“Security Measures on Chemical Warfare and Biological Warfare”) (ACHRE No. NARA-012495-A), 2. In the memo to the service chiefs of staff, the Joint Chiefs decreed that “responsible agencies” should “[e]nsure, insofar as practicable, that all published articles stemming from the BW [biological warfare] or CW [chemical warfare] research and development programs are disassociated from anything which might connect them with U.S. military endeavor.”
71. Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Thirtieth Joint Medical Research Conference, minutes of 8 January 1964 (ACHRE No. DOD-062994-A), 3.
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In a previous work, I stressed that bureaucratic language is essentially linked to power; language, coupled with outright omissions of information, can be used to conceal information. By applying the broad category of “radiobiology” or “cleansing” the literature of any reference to the military experimentation or projects, the military undermined the time-honored practice of scientific peer review as well as obfuscated informed consent of volunteers and the public’s right to know of the military’s [covert] contribution to the research literature.
This manipulation of language – not an uncommon occurrence as a technique of secrecy keeping – jeopardizes historical understanding and sorely tarnishes public confidence in government research. This situation calls to [my] mind sociologist Max Weber’s observation in Economy and Society, where Max asks
“…how can there be any guarantee that any powers will remain which can check and effectively control the influence of this stratum? How will democracy even in this limited sense be possible at all?”
With this in mind, consider the following:
Look over the Department of the Army, RMA Review and Analysis, 4th Quarter 1970, a doc I received under FOIA. The doc mentions demil and two projects: Project GEMS and Project LEACHE [Long Term Effects Anticholinesterase.] There is no mention of informed consent on the 148 “exposed personnel.” I wonder: were the workers mentioned in the LEACHE study the “industrial workers” of the Holmes and Metcalf study (below)?
The Metcalf and Holmes study, (June 23, 1969, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences), which disingenuously characterizes the study as “industrial and agricultural workers” exposed to pesticides. RMA [chemical weapons] workers are a component of the study cryptically indicated by “RMA” (circled) printed on Table 1.
At the January 26, 2000 EPA [Bob Martin] Ombudsman’s hearing on RMA, Dr. Robert McFarland testified to treating Sarin-exposed workers at Colorado General Hospital during the late 1950s while a resident. The medical school (University of Colorado), McFarland said, was doing a Army funded study on an antidote to Sarin exposure using 2PAM, or pyridine 2-aldoxime; this antidote was investigated as an alternative to the traditionally used atropine in cases of Sarin poisoning. Dr. McFarland reported the physicians who administered the study were ordered by their dean to participate as the medical school “was so hard up for money after World War II we had to take any study we could get.” [Thanks to Dr. McFarland for providing this document].
Former RMA worker Ray Laughbridge tells his story in Denver magazine September, 1976. Note: Dr. Joseph Holmes of the Metcalf and Holmes study worked for the Army Chemical Service.
Some interesting historical things from my files; At its peak, the Arsenal employed 3,100 civilians, including WAC officers assigned to do war work.
- Larsen (1969, March). Women protest nerve gas shipments, Denver Post.
- Mettert, (1943). Women’s effective war work requires good posture.
- Rocky Mt. Arsenal, Chemical Warfare Service (1943). Miscell docs on RMA women workers, including injuries and safety shoes.
- War Food Administration, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, (1945). The women’s land army works for victory.
- Women’s War Bureau, (1941). Safety clothing for women in industry.
- Ziegler, (1942). Women’s employment in artillery ammunition plants.
From January 1962-October 1969, Rocky Mountain Arsenal “grew, purified and biodemilitarized” plant pathogen wheat stem rust [Puccinia graminis, var. tritici] for the Air Force. TX-treated grain was grown at the Arsenal from 1962-1968 in Sections 23-26. Unprocessed TX was also transported from Beale AFB for purification, storage, and disposal.
The following docs outline these activities at RMA:
- Army doc on disposal of wheat rust stock 
- Army to EPA on TX, 
- Buried Treasure, email from for RMA worker Jim Knipp to the CPEO list [August 1998]
- Col. Shear‘s press conference describing TX destruction
- Col. Shear’s memoirs on the “Biological Program at Rocky, [unpublished manuscript, reprinted with permission from the author]. Of note from the memoir,
The point is that there is still 90.00 pounds of TX located in the northern portion of the Arsenal. Considering the trouble and money involved in the demil of TX it would seem stupid to ignore that agent. If the government decided to leave it there it would appear that this should be questioned due to the cost already expended and the amount of effort that had been expended. If the government were to say there was no danger with the TX then why was such effort then take to contain the already dead agent?
- Surveillance Instructions for TX Agent, [n.d., from the JARDF]
- Various docs written in the 1970s, from the JARDF on TX, includes info on location and disposal
Question for researchers: Was the visit by Japanese scientists to RMA connected in any way to Project 112, which also field tested wheat rust in Okinawa?
- GAO on Project 112, 
- Project 112 and the Japanese scientists [see Sheldon H. Harris. Factories of Death : Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-45, and the American Cover-up. New York: Routledge, 1994] | Documents verifying Japan Group I-63 officials visited RMA, [September 6-10, 1962] | Review, The Truth About the Army Noborito Research Institute, Intelligence in Recent Public Literature 
- U.S. Army Activity in the U.S. Biowarfare Program, @ National Security Archives. Pages L8-9, volume II, discusses TX at RMA, [February 24, 1977]