Evaluation of Phosphate Treatment Methods to Reduce Lead Mobility at Military Small Arms Training Ranges

Author(s): Bricka, R. ;  Blakely, J.

The primary goal of the United States Military is to train and equip troops to maintain military readiness to defend the United States and its interests. Small arms range (SAR) training represents a major element in keeping the military ready to accomplish this mission.

Projectiles utilized as part of SAR training have accumulated in the soil at the SARs as a result of many years of use. These projectiles are composed of toxic metals. The projectiles, with weathering, change form allowing the metals to migrate to surface and ground water sources. Due to the toxicity associated with the metals, the SAR may pose a threat to humans and the environment. Current lead remediation techniques are costly and inefficient thus new cost effective remediation techniques must be developed and implemented.

Studies show that the treatment of the soil with phosphate-based binders may react with the metals, which results in lowering the solubility of the lead and other metals. The phosphate based-binders react with the metal ions, such as lead, to form insoluble metal phosphate complexes called pyromorphites as shown in equation 1.

10M2+ + 6H2PO4 + 2OH-  > M10(PO4)6(OH2) + 12H+   Eq (1).

Several types of phosphate binders can be used to form the desired pyromorphites, however, the kinetics of the reaction depend on the phosphate complex. This may be due to the ability of the specific binder to mix efficiently in the contaminated soil or due to the reactive nature of the specific form of phosphate applied to the site.

This paper presents the results of a study to investigate the effect of phosphates on the lead contained in soils collected at military SAR training areas. Laboratory evaluations consisted of adding various phosphates at different dosages to SAR samples. After treatment the soils were subjected to a series of leaching tests. The result of laboratory effort as well as the planned field activities will be presented.


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Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

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