Environmental Program

Picatinny has been proactive in environmental protection measures since the Clean Air and Water acts of the 1970s. Through a series of technology oriented programs, Picatinny sought to address military-unique problems in the production of propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics (PEP). The following illustrate some of the achievements and cutting edge leadership demonstrated at Picatinny.

Industrial Pollution Abatement Technologies and Environmental Protection

This field includes incineration of hazardous waste, recycling and reusing wastewater generated at propellants and explosives and load, assembly and pack (LAP) plants; treatment of forging and plating emissions; and, the treatment of munitions specific wastes such as pink and red water.

In the 1970s, the Picatinny community, under the leadership of the Army Material Command (AMC), considered process optimization and improvements to reduce hazardous pollutants at their source and, in some cases, convert pollutants into usable/marketable products. Picatinny developed many cutting edge technologies such as the use of a fluidized bed incinerator for the disposal of waste propellants and explosives. This project demonstrated that propellants and explosives could be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Where there were no national standards, Picatinny developed voluntary emissions standards in conjunction with the Federal and State Environment Protection Agency (EPA) organizations. Related efforts in rotary kiln and other innovated technologies were developed and continue within the Picatinny Demilitarization Research and Development Program.

Environment in Acquisition
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASARDA) conducted a study in 1990 to identify opportunities for reducing the generation of hazardous and toxic wastes throughout the lifecycle of Army material. The study consisted of several teams that examined regulations and directives in the acquisition cycle, reduction of hazardous material at the source and throughout the lifecycle to ultimate disposal, and environmental technologies. The team leader and technical experts for the second team came from Picatinny with support from AMC and Department of Army (DA) program office as well as AMC installations. As a result of this landmark study, the Armys environmental program was elevated from a facilities perspective to an Army focus that encompassed support for existing and future weapons systems.

Lifecycle Environmental Assessment (LCEA)
In 1994, the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) and the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council (ASARC) asked Picatinny to prepare a comprehensive programmatic lifecycle Environmental Assessment. The various elements included a minimum number of strategies including a pollution prevention and compliance plan, a hazardous material management program, and a demilitarization and disposal plan with emphasis on recovery and reuse and environmental lifecycle costing.

Also during this period of time, the Program Manager Advanced Field Artillery System (AFAS), at Picatinny, launched a landmark effort to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the environmental implications of fielding this system that would eventually set the standard for all the Military Services. The Army Audit Agency (AAA) and the Department of Defense Inspector General documented this achievement in subsequent assessments. The Picatinny technical community continues this leadership role and has introduced innovative concepts in environmental cost accounting and documenting environmental activities.

Environmental Technology Program
The Army, and later DoD, separated environmental research and development programs into four pillars. The traditional topics of cleanup, compliance and conservation were included, but along with them, a new program area of Pollution Prevention was added. The Services realized the need for an organization within the AMC, rather than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to manage the pollution prevention pillar and subsequent program. Due to the wide variety of materials used and the manufacturing process supporting the armaments mission, the Armaments Research and Development Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny was chosen to lead the program. ARDEC's experience in program management and environmental issues made the choice an appropriate one. This role was further expanded to represent the DoD in Federal programs addressing pollution prevention.

When Congress requested development of a "National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence" (NDCEE) in 1989, ARDEC was instrumental in developing a strategic plan and necessary procurement documentation for its formation and operation. NDCEE has evolved into the premier environmental center within the DoD and provides technical support to all Services, the EPA, DOE and several other federal and state agencies.

Green Ammunition
With the advent of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 and the DoD response to a White House Executive Order in 1993, the DoD developed pollution prevention plans and programs for both facilities and weapons systems. In order to create an easily identifiable program that would translate to DoD employees as well as the public, the Picatinny community created the "Green Ammunition Program" for small, medium and large caliber ammunition. Acquisition documents were scanned for hazardous and toxic materials and process lines were reviewed for other materials not listed on drawings and specifications. A systematic process of elimination and/or replacement followed for "greening" ammunition.

In 1995, Picatinny established the Joint Working Group (JWG) for Non-Toxic Ammunition (green ammunition) to redesign ammunition components and manufacturing process. High visibility changes called for the removal of lead from the bullet tip (slug) and lead from the printer compound. Efforts included the elimination of other heavy metals such as barium and antimony; the elimination of Ozone Depleting Compounds (ODC) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) required within the Technical Data Packages; and the elimination of other hazardous and toxic materials from the production processes. This program set the stage for "greening" more complex DoD systems and provided the DoD community with one of its first pollution prevention success stories. This program represents a benchmark in ammunition production.

Protecting the Environment through Science and Technology
Through the years, Picatinny has initiated projects that will help protect the environment. Within its own community of employees and contractors using their vast knowledge and experience in science and technology, Picatinny has pursued opportunities that will result in preventing pollution, cleaning up hazardous waste and reducing further contamination. For example, a current research project focuses on degrading energetic material to innocuous products using microorganisms. When fully developed, this technology can be used for both soil and water remediation that is contaminated with energetic material, treating manufacturing waste streams and rendering safe unexploded ordinance. Using microorganisms for these tasks represents a cost effective, more environmentally friendly process compared to current methods such as incinerating contaminated soil or filtering contaminated water. With an eye to the future, Picatinny is using the lessons of the past to protect the 6,500 acres of land under its management.