Category Archives: Superfund

The Devil’s Bargain

I recently came across this short film titled The Devil’s Bargain created by students whose school is in proximity to RMA:


The National Contingency Plan

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.

first letter | EPA response | SC response…then we gave up.

Lots of RMA History & Documents

History, lots of history…

  • The Blue Book (Parts 1 and 3 not included).
  • CDPHE [1995] 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 [1975], Chemicals & Spills.
  • Colorado Dept. of Health [1993], Concerns, Offpost Proposed Plan.
  • Conceptual_Agreement, Sierra Club comments, [1995].
  • Corrective Action Management Unit, Sierra Club comments to CDPHE, [1996]: 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 [1970], Review and Analysis.
  • Draft EIS, USFWS wildlife refuge, Sierra Club comments to USFWS [1995].
  • Daigle v. Shell Oil.

The Puzzling Case of the NSCMP and RMA

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:

my original email | CDPHE response EDS | additional EDS discussion

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.

Wildlife [exposure & biomonitoring] and RMA