COLUMBIA, SC — Traces of a
caustic pollutant associated with military ammunition have turned up in
groundwater at the edge of Fort Jackson, and base officials plan to test
private wells nearby to see whether they are contaminated.
base’s public announcement Thursday of the groundwater pollution sparked
questions about when well owners were notified of the potential threat
to an area where some residents still rely on wells for drinking water.
officials said they found traces of the pollutant in “recent’’ tests at
the fort’s southern boundary and the McCrady Training Center, but the
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control released a letter
saying the military may have known about the contamination for more than
a year before telling the agency.
The material, known as Royal
Demolition Explosive, or RDX, is a man-made compound that can cause
seizures in people who swallow substantial quantities, according to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has been tied to
cancer in laboratory animals and is considered a possible human
In an Oct. 25 letter to Fort Jackson’s public works
department, DHEC director Catherine Templeton said the department should
have been told of the contamination soon after the military learned
about it in the summer of 2012. Last month’s letter told the fort to
begin testing any wells downhill from the contaminated area.
is our belief that you have known about this exceedance since July 2012
and failed to notify the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental
Control (DHEC) of the potential area of concern within 15 days required
by your (hazardous materials) permit,’’ Templeton’s letter said.
said her agency planned to meet with the Department of the Army to
discuss a long-term plan to address the RDX pollution and “other issues
discovered today.’’ Details of the scheduled meeting were not available.
An attempt to reach Fort Jackson spokesman Patrick Jones was
unsuccessful Thursday afternoon, but base officials said in a news
release that the amounts found in groundwater were below health advisory
levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
READ MORE: http://www.thestate.com/2013/11/14/3098283/chemical-found-in-fort-jackson.html