Development of a remediation strategy for surface soils contaminated with energetic materials by thermal processes – Phases 1, 2 and 3


  1. Poulin, I.
  2. Nadeau, G.
  3. Gagnon, A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
As a result of military training, many ranges and training areas are contaminated with energetic materials (EMs). In Canada, for many sites characterized, more than 80 % of the overall contamination by EMs was found in the first 10 cm of the surface soil for propellant residues at the firing positions. Military personnel can be exposed to these compounds which may eventually be transported to surface and groundwater. At this moment, there is no official protocol for routinely removing propellant residues from surface soils. Various remediation strategies are currently being studied (phytoremediation, fire ecology, etc.) in order to address the problem of surface soils contamination by EMs. This report presents the work carried out to evaluate up to which extent the combustion of selected fuels (liquids and gels) could be used as a remediation method for the thermal decomposition of propellants in surface soils. In Phase 1, preliminary tests were carried out to quickly evaluate the potential of fuel combustion over soil as a remediation procedure. In Phase 2, temperature propagation in sand was determined during burnings. In Phase 3, contaminated soil taken from the firing position of an anti-tank range was monitored for nitroglycerine before and after the combustion of a top layer of selected fuels. The results showed that a gelled ethanol fuel is promising for the remediation of contaminated soils by energetic materials.

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Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-TR-2009-150 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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