Army Chemical Review


Army Chemical Review presents professional information about Chemical Corps functions related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, smoke, flame, and civil support operations.

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Page 28 of 47

27 Summer 2015 With renewed emphasis on chemical, biological, radiolog- ical, and nuclear (CBRN) tasks and training in U.S. Army unifed land operations doctrine, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps must review the CBRN tasks and associated doctrine to ensure that CBRN operations beneft the overall Army mission—with special attention paid to the logistical needs of CBRN decontamination. According to Field Manual (FM) 3-11.5, Multiservice Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for - nation, the most resource-intensive type of decontamination conducted in a combat setting is detailed equipment decon- tamination (DED), which requires a considerable quantity of water. For example, an average mechanized infantry com- pany, which consists of 12 M2A3 Bradley fghting vehicles, could require up to 7,800 gallons of water for DED. 1 As seen in recent operational environments, water can be a scarce resource and signifcant logistical systems and efforts can be required to deliver it to our forces. Continu- ing with the mechanized infantry company as an example, a chemical decontamination platoon would need to fll both of its 3,000-gallon water storage blivets and receive a resupply from a 2,000-gallon Load-Handling System Compatible Wa- ter Tank Rack (Hippo) to meet the company's water needs for DED. 2 This would require the identifcation of a suff- cient water source and multiple supply convoys to transport the water to the decontamination site. Of equal importance is the further environmental bur- den that the use of the water places on the local population. CBRN weapons cause signifcant environmental damage themselves; used decontaminants, contaminated expend- ables, and runoff resulting from decontamination operations could leave additional long-lasting contamination. Calcu- lations indicate that the 7,800 gallons of water needed for mechanized infantry company DED would require 1,092 cu- bic feet of sump storage once DED is complete. 3 This would be equivalent to two 5-foot by 10-foot by 10-foot holes flled with decontaminants, used cleaning equipment, and con- taminated water with which local nationals would need to contend. This would not be an example of leaving the site cleaner than we found it. Solutions There are several options that the Army can consider to improve water conservation during decontamination, there- by reducing the overall water need and the amount of waste left behind. Two major areas of focus are— • Reviewing and revising Army doctrine regarding decon- tamination tactics, techniques, and procedures. • Developing and felding new technology to help reduce and reuse water during decontamination operations. Reviewing and Revising Doctrine In reviewing and revising doctrine in an effort to signif- cantly reduce overall water usage during decontamination, the Chemical Corps needs to address two topics. First, we need to consider adjusting decontamination tactics, tech- niques, and procedures. For example, we might promote more effcient water use by developing changes to tactics, techniques, and procedures associated with DED Stations 1 (Primary Wash) and 4 (Rinse). 4 Scraping gross contaminants (dirt, mud, plant matter) off equipment in a controlled area before embarking upon Step 1 could reduce the quantity of water needed to pressure wash the contaminants from the equipment. Furthermore, using a biodegradable scrub brush to wipe decontamination agents from equipment before reaching Step 4 could reduce the amount of water needed to rinse the decontamination agents off the equipment. Once all water conservation methods are established, we must then conduct an overall review of the improved decontami- nation tactics, techniques, and procedures so that we may adjust the doctrinal water consumption rates provided in FM 3-11.5. Modifed DED water consumption rate estimates would allow staff sections to better plan for DED operations and help ensure that only the amount of water needed would be hauled to the site. Developing and Fielding New Technology To further beneft water conservation efforts, technologi- cal improvements should be implemented to supplement and support the doctrinal improvements to decontamination. Two areas of technological development could signifcantly improve the ability to conserve water during decontamina- tion operations. The quantity of water required to decon- taminate each piece of equipment could be reduced through the use of improved pump and sprayer technologies, which make it possible to consistently deliver smaller amounts of water with greater pressure to larger surface areas. A good example of such a technology is the M26 Joint Ser- vice Transportable Decontamination System–Small Scale. However, we need to keep searching for improvements in this arena and implement them as needed. In addition, the water used for decontamination could be reclaimed and re- used and the Army should examine those possibilities for additional water conservation gains. Reclamation involves the use of catch basins (similar to those commonly placed beneath refueling vehicles) to collect the runoff generated at DED Stations 1 and 4. Reclaimed water can then be pumped through an activated carbon or membrane flter to remove chemical and biological agents, resulting in water that is (Continued on page 30)

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