Development of a soil analytical framework to facilitate early identification of the deleterious effects of emerging contaminants and chemicals of military concern on soil
Insensitive munitions are currently in use in military operations and training areas around the world and are usually filled with Insensitive High Explosive (IHE) formulations, such as combinations of constituents including 2,4-dinitroanisle (DNAN), 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO) and RDX. Literature is available on the physiochemical nature of these materials, although the actual consequence of residues being deposited post-detonation in the environment is still an unexplored area of research. Of particular interest is the evaluation of soil health as it provides an early warning sign of contamination that may impact on human health and other environmental receptors.
This research aimed to establish the concentrations of IHE in soil that would be detrimental to soil by quantifying residues from three detonated 155mm artillery shells filled with IHE composition (15% RDX, 32% DNAN and 53% NTO). The data collected was used to calculate the impact of 100 detonations to estimate the cumulative impacts. The estimated soil concentration values were simulated in outdoor soil mesocosms to establish high, medium, and low soil health boundaries for IHE in soil.
The results obtained provide insight on the environmental impact of IHE filled munitions supporting future research in understanding consequences on soil health of detonated munitions.