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EPA Seeks Public Input on Camp Edwards Proposed Training Device

Release Date: 03/11/2013
Contact Information: Kate Renahan, (617) 918-1491

(Boston, Mass. – Mar. 11, 2013) – EPA is seeking public comment on a proposed agreement to allow the Massachusetts Army National Guard to begin training with M69 hand grenade simulator training devices on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR).

The comment period, which runs through April 9, 2013, provides an opportunity for public input on this proposed modification to EPA’s 1997 Safe Drinking Water Act Administrative Order. The authorization process is part of EPA’s regulatory role at MMR to protect the sole source Cape Cod Aquifer.

Since 1997, EPA has issued four administrative orders at the base, three of which are under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Among other provisions the second administrative order (AO2) includes 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. However, included was a provision for modification if among other requirements there was, “documentation demonstrating that the use of a propellant or pyrotechnic that is suspended pursuant to this Order does not present a threat of harm to the public or the environment that would warrant its continued suspension under this Order.”

In a Jan. 25, 2013 letter, the Massachusetts Army National Guard requested that EPA modify the Scope of Work to AO2 to allow the use of the M69 hand grenade simulator training devices at Training Area BA-1 on Camp Edwards. The letter included information on the chemical makeup of the training devices and a description of their intended use.

EPA does not expect that the chemical makeup and use of the items, in the manner proposed, will present a threat to the aquifer and now submits this proposal for public comment.

The authorization to use this training device is also conditional upon the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s compliance with all conditions established by the Environmental Management Commission. The authorization does not extend to any other ammunition, and the proposed use of this ammunition does not interfere with any response actions in the northeast area within Camp Edwards.

More information on the proposed modified training at Camp Edwards and how to comment: http://www.epa.gov/region1/mmr/

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