Citizens Tour M6 Destruction Site At Camp Minden

MINDEN, LA (AP) — The disposal of military munitions will take place next year at Camp Minden.

         Those munitions — approximately 16 million pounds of volatile M6 explosives used in firing heavy artillery — currently are stored in underground bunkers which date back to the 1940s and 50s. Clean Burning Igniter, about 320,890 pounds of it, also will be destroyed.

         The Times’ Alexandria Burris reports local citizens, state and federal officials toured the M6 destruction site Thursday.

         An open burn was proposed as the method to destroy the stockpile of unstable explosives, which are beyond their life expectancy. But fearing the impact of an open burn on their health and environment, concerned citizens protested.

         "We saw the situation that we were in and what was about to happen," Brian Salvatore, an LSUS professor, said. "Thanks to citizens, thousands of citizens, who spoke up and organized through grassroots everybody made their voice heard that we know there's better options out there."

         Salvatore said he's convinced what's being done is a better option than what was proposed. The contained burn will be safe, he said.

         The destruction site will have a material staging area where explosives will be unpacked. A contained burn chamber where the explosives will be destroyed is expected to arrive at Camp Minden Jan. 8 from Oklahoma.

         Construction at the site is 75 percent complete, said Dean Schellhase, with Explosive Service International, the contractor hired to conduct the burn.

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