Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Local businessmen say they have fix for stored M6 at Camp Minden

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An 18 million pound problem of improperly stored propellant sitting in bunkers at Camp Minden could be an opportunity for the area.

Local businessman James Madden, owner of Madden Contracting, said his son David has an idea that would be beneficial for all involved.

"Currently there are two thoughts on how to dispose of the material," Madden said. "Our company is the only one currently proposing to incinerate it. The other suggestions all involve burning it in an open pit."

Madden said there is no way of knowing with certainty how long the disposal would take using the open pit method.

"It would be like trying to control the weather - it would take up to or longer than three years," he said. "But with the incinerator, we could work around the clock and have it done in a year's time and do so in a safer manner."

Madden Contracting has built asphalt roads for two generations. Madden said the process of incinerating propellant is similar to how the company makes their asphalt.

"We have a conveyor that takes materials and puts them in a kiln and mixes our asphalt," Madden said.

Kilns are thermally insulated chambers like ovens. Madden said the one at his Sibley yard is made of steel.

"Steel won't hold up to the extremely high temperatures caused by incinerating the M6," he explained. "So the Tennessee-based company we purchased our kiln from said they can make us a kiln out of firebrick."

Firebrick is used to line furnaces, kilns and fireplaces. Industrial firebrick can be rated up to 3,000 degrees fahrenheit.

Madden said the firebrick kiln would be placed on property leased by Madden Contracting on Camp Minden.

"So many people and companies were affected by Explo's incident and our company was among them," he said. "We came to a standstill with our operations down there and many others faced the same issue."

Madden works with engineers from Louisiana Tech University on the Camp Minden lease performing tests.

"It is a cooperative endeavor with Tech that benefits the college and students and us," Madden said.

If Madden's proposal comes to fruition, the company hopes cooperative capitalism will benefit tenants of Camp Minden, local workers and local companies.

Expal, which is owned by Spain-based Maxam, is also a tenant of Camp Minden and stands to benefit from Madden's proposal.

"They dispose of munitions, that is what their company does and they have all the required licenses," Madden explained. "We hope to provide the kiln and property and sub-contract with them for the handling, incineration and disposal portions of the plan."

Madden said possible environmental hazards of open pit burning could be avoided by inserting the material.

"By using urea, which is most commonly used as a fertilizer, and screening the exhaust, we can reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of toxins and hazards released in the exhaust," Madden said. "David is working with two doctors of science to determine the formulas we would need."

Madden said environmental testing at Camp Minden will be done in mid-January to determine risk factors, toxins and hazards of disposing of the material.

Another concern is what entity will open the bids for disposal and how it will be funded.

"If the state of Louisiana opens the bid, what we are faced with is the low-bid law," Madden explained. "It doesn't matter how good your product or work is, if it isn't the lowest price.

"However, it is likely that EPA or Army, which are both federal entities, will either provide the funding or take bids," he continued. "That means they may give more weight to the best method of disposal when considering who they will entrust with the contract."

 

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