Hodgdon Powder Company (Hodgdon) has manufactured propellant at their facility in east-central Kansas since 1979. The propellant is gunpowder that is a formulation of potassium perchlorate, potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal that is an alternative to black powder. A Remedial Investigation (RI) at the site revealed a plume of perchlorate contamination in groundwater which extends over an area of several square miles with perchlorate identified in at least three separate fractured bedrock aquifers. Perchlorate contamination was also identified in surface water and on-site soils.
Blackstone staff involvement has included management of remedial activities at the site as well as assisting Hodgdon with ongoing environmental compliance issues. Remedial activities included implementation of interim remedial measures (IRM) to achieve source-area cleanup of impacted soil. Enhanced biological reduction of perchlorate was successfully achieved in source-area soils via mixing of no-cost carbon-donor material from a neighboring cattle feed lot. This innovative remedial approach resulted in destruction of perchlorate to non-detectable levels and closure of source-area treatment cells within 3 years of implementation. This also represented the first time, on a national level, that perchlorate impacted soil had been successfully treated in this manner.
Interim remedial measures were also initiated to examine similar biological reduction techniques to treat perchlorate impacted groundwater, this time using no-cost effluent from Hodgdon’s on-site wastewater biological treatment plant. Pilot test efforts successfully resulted in significant perchlorate degradation and Blackstone extended this
in-situ remedial approach to treat the entire groundwater source area.
Blackstone completed additional tasks over the course of our relationship with Hodgdon including development and refinement of the facility’s SWPPP; assessment of the facility’s sewer system infiltration and inflow problems; monitoring program refinement and training; Water Pollution Control Permit negotiation and compliance; surface discharge control using ion-exchange technology; Groundwater IRM using in-situ bioremediation; operational design and modifications; consulting and research regarding industrial compliance standards; environmental consulting for ballistics laboratory operations; and many general environmental compliance and management duties.