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  Work on the Former DRMO Yard was recently halted due to the reported detection of “sub-munitions” during preparation work for remedial activities. The RAB was informed of the discovery at its October 2008 meeting.  Recently a representative of Picatinny Arsenal indicated that the appropriate term for these munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) is “improved conventional munitions” (ICMs). Arcadis states that after the discovery of the ICMs the gates to the fenced site were locked.



It is reportedly being patrolled by base personnel. Interestingly the area where the sub-munitions were discovered is nearby to a brook and it is close to an area traversed by

a group consisting of Picatinny Arsenal, USEPA, NJDEP, and RAB representatives (Michael Glaab


 and Barbara Dolce) during a

trip to inspect a site during the early stages of the Feasibility Study several years ago. ICMs found at this location consist of the following:  BLU-3, BLU-4, BLU-24, BLU-26/36/59, BLU-42/54, BLU-61, and BLU-63/86.  Fortunately no one appears to have come in to contact with these potentially deadly items prior to their discovery.  The “Unexploded Ordnance (UXO): An Overview” (October 1996) document states that

sub-munitions include


Submunitions stop work at former drmo yard

WILL  THERE   BE   ANY   RODs   IN  FY  ‘09?

Image of Weapons Cache

The permeable reactive barrier (PRB) near Green Pond Brook (GPB) is approaching it’s second birthday. The PRB was sited to protect GPB by treating contaminated groundwater before it migrates to that stream. On the surface the PRB  seems to be functioning properly. Despite fears of a potential water backup upgradient of the PRB, groundwater level measurements show that water is flowing through

the PRB. Also the ends of the PRB do not appear to have created adverse perturbations of the groundwater flow. However, recent water sampling (August 2008) has shown the presence of trichloroethene (TCE) in GPB. According to Arcadis TCE was not detected in surface water and the primary VOC detected in GPB was vinyl chloride at 19.2 ppb. An increase in TCE was found downgradient (downstream, actually) of the northern portion of the PRB. The TCE


concentration was higher than that from the sample collected 30 feet upstream.  Vinyl chloride was also detected in the downgradient stream sample. Although vinyl chloride is a degradation product of TCE it was not reported in other stream samples. One possible cause may be a non-reactive zone within the barrier through which contaminants migrate without being treated. Such a zone could have accidentally been created during


construction had the sand medium not been properly mixed with iron filings. The iron is intended to react with the TCE and degrade it into less harmful constituents.  Arcadis states that it will check such variables as stream flow conditions to determine the cause of the detection. Arcadis asserts that subsequent sampling has disclosed a decline in concentrations downgradient of the wall and in GPB.

The past year was a rocky one for the record of decision (ROD) pipeline at Picatinny Arsenal. As published in the Spring 2008 Newsletter, Arcadis had stated during an October 2007 technical meeting  that its goal for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY’08) was


to complete 11 RODs. Instead, the Land Use Controls (LUC) ROD for 13 Sites was the only ROD signed during the fiscal year (FY 2008) which ended in September 2008. FY 2009 is not off to a good start. Although the Mid-Valley Groundwater dispute was substantially resolved in


late summer 2008, thus paving the way for a revised document that would include language reflecting the agreement reached between the Army and the USEPA, other disputes have arisen that could grind progress to a halt. These disputes include recognition


of the New Jersey soil standards that were enacted in June 2008 and other matters relating to LUCs, the restoration of groundwater to drinking water quality standards, RDX standards for New Jersey, and the nature of CERCLA response actions.


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bomblets, grenades, and mines filled with explosives or chemical agents.  As a precaution the Army has placed an advertisement in the local Picatinny newspaper asking for current or former on-site workers and/or residents to come forward if they have any knowledge of the sub-munitions.  Given the long history of the base and its many employees it is possible that someone may recall disposal of the sub-munitions. The PAERAB’s own website also provides a telephone number to call to provide information.