Support for Explosives Waste Disposal by Contained Burn at Indian Head Naval Base

photo of dark smoke from burning wastes

Project Brief

The Challenge

Disposal of explosives waste is a key operation for the Indian Head Naval Base and plays an important role in the base’s broader explosives manufacturing activities. Disposal consisted of open burning in metal pans, causing potential harmful emissions and water pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment had begun to apply higher standards to open burning operations to address these concerns. To meet these anticipated new standards, the U.S. Navy sought an updated disposal technology that also met the rigorous base safety standards and the required disposal throughput needed to sustain base operations. The Navy turned to ERG to help identify a suitable alternative and support its design.

ERG's Solution

To address these needs, ERG’s team performed a series of tasks focused on technology selection and design. Specifically, we:

  • Reviewed explosives waste disposal options to identify a proposed solution, resulting in our recommendation of a Contained Burn Facility.
  • Performed a site analysis to determine the optimal location for the new contained burn facility, accounting for environmental constraints and explosives safety concerns.
  • Assisted the Navy in preparing military construction (MILCON) project documentation for the new facility, including space requirements, construction cost estimates, site maps, and a DD Form 1391 package.
  • Analyzed current and future workload to validate that the new facility would have adequate capacity to support anticipated manufacturing operations.
  • Oversaw a review of contained burn design and pollution abatement options and preparation of a 35 percent design of the contained burn system.
  • Led a Preliminary Hazard Analysis to guide decisions during design of the new contained burn facility.
  • Performed a preliminary air permitting assessment and drafted a “Permit to Construct” application (including “Potential to Emit” calculations) for the new facility.


U.S. Department of Defense