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Limited Use of Modified Grenade Simulators Approved for Use at Camp Edwards

Release Date: 03/25/2010
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, (617) 918-1020

(Boston, Mass. – March 25, 2010) – EPA has agreed to allow the Massachusetts National Guard and other military agencies to resume training using a reformulated pyrotechnic device, the M116A1 Hand Grenade. The approval, which follows a 30-day public comment period that ran through February 2010, allows use of the reformulated grenades in training for a two-year period that will begin the first day of use on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR).

In addition to EPA’s own analysis of the potential environmental and / or public health effects of this reformulated grenade simulator, an effort was made to allow for the public to add input on this limited, two year authorization. This authorization process is part of EPA’s regulatory role at the Massachusetts Military Reservation to protect the sole source Cape Cod Aquifer, pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Since 1997, EPA has issued four administrative orders at the base under authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Among other provisions, the second administrative order included the suspension of particular military training activities at the Training Range and Impact area of MMR, due to the nature of the potential contaminants within some of the training devices. This Order included a provision for modifying the scope of work requirements if, “documentation demonstrating that the use of a … pyrotechnic that is suspended pursuant to the Order does not present a threat of harm to the public or the environment that would warrant its continued suspension under this Order.” Based on their findings, EPA has modified Administrative Order 2 to allow the limited use of the M116A1 Hand Grenade.

In a letter dated October 26, 2009, the Massachusetts National Guard on behalf of itself and the National Guard Bureau, requested approval from the EPA to resume training using the reformulated pyrotechnic device. The petition included information on the chemical makeup (reformulated without perchlorate) of the grenade and a description of its intended use. Based on the chemical makeup of this reformulated grenade, the number of items proposed for use, and the size of the area in which they will be used, EPA does not expect that the use of these items in this manner will present a threat to the sole source aquifer.

The limited authorization to use this device is conditional upon the Massachusetts National Guard’s compliance with all conditions established by the Environmental Management Commission. It does not extend to any other pyrotechnic device or hand grenade simulator, and also requires that Mass. Air National Guard to submit a report 60 days prior to the end of the two year period on the use and environmental impacts of the M116A1 Hand Grenade simulator including sampling data from the areas of use.

More information:
EPA’s work at MMR (epa.gov/region1/mmr/)

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