General Aspect

"Explosive waste" normally refers to propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics (PEP), which belong to the more general category of energetic materials. These materials are susceptible to initiation, or self-sustained energy release, when they are present in sufficient quantities and exposed to stimuli (e.g., heat, shock, and friction). Each reacts differently; all will burn, but explosives and propellants can detonate under certain conditions (e.g., confinement). Figure 1 outlines the various categories of energetic materials.

Wastewaters containing explosives are produced at military installations carrying out manufacturing, and loading, assembly, and packing (LAP) of munitions, as well as washout or deactivation/demilitarization operations. The LAP generates wastewater from cleanup and washdown operations. Deactivation is accomplished by washing out or steaming out the explosives from bombs and shells. Explosives contaminated waters are normally subdivided into two categories based on the color of the wastewater:

• Red water, which comes strictly from the manufacture of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT);

• Pink water, which includes any washwater associated with LAP operations or with the deactivation of munitions involving contact with finished TNT.

A list of explosive compounds is given in Table 1. The explosives-associated compounds (XACs) enter the natural subsurfaces from several types of sources:

• production facilities, e.g., wastewater lagoons and filtration pits;

• solid waste destruction facilities, e.g., burn pits and incineration wastes;

• packing or warehouse facilities; and

• dispersed, unexploded ordnance, e.g., from firing ranges.

The wastewater from manufacturing and packing operations has posed the greatest threat to groundwater. In the United States, royal demolition explosives (RDX) is presently the most important military high explosive because TNT is no longer manufactured, although it is a

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