Panel talks proposed munitions incinerator in Grand Island

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A volunteer committee is in the process of finalizing its report evaluating the environmental and economic effects of a proposed explosives incineration business near Grand Island. The 12-person committee met Tuesday to discuss the proposal for Heritage Disposal and...

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A volunteer committee is in the process of finalizing its report evaluating the environmental and economic effects of a proposed explosives incineration business near Grand Island.

The 12-person committee met Tuesday to discuss the proposal for Heritage Disposal and Storage of Alda to open a munitions incinerator at the former Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant west of Grand Island, The Grand Island Independent (http://bit.ly/2bDtpgV ) reported.

The panel has been meeting since April and is responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of the site, the proposed facility, technology used, environmental impacts, economic impacts, transportation plans and impacts, regulatory control and enforcement and emergency responses.

The group formed after the company filed a notice that it intends to apply for federal and state permits to erect and operate a rotary kiln incinerator at its 900-acre plant. The explosives recycling and storage business already has an explosives manufacture license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The company recently acquired a renewable Department of Defense contract for five years to dispose of hexachloroethane smoke materials, which are most commonly found in smoke grenades. The department wants the smoke grenades burned and demilitarized.

The department has stockpiles of smoke grenades from as far back as World War II, according to the company's president, Mark Vess, who formerly served as a military bomb specialist and worked for the contractor who cleared explosives residue from the Cornhusker plant. The department wants them destroyed and recycled into useful materials, such as fertilizer.

The company can currently hold 16 million pounds of explosives and could renovate more bunkers to store another 24 million pounds of explosives.

The committee is scheduled to turn in its final report to Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality director Jim Macy by October.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com

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