Too Hot to Handle: How ECBC Keeps its Cool when Investigating an Unknown Sample - Part IECBC is kicking off a week-long blog series that walks you through the process of how the Center’s Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction (CBARR) Business Unit safely handles and processes an unknown sample, from onsite recovery to laboratory sample analysis. Unidentified contents can pose great dangers to personnel supporting Department of Defense remediation efforts across the country. With a highly trained and experienced workforce that is certified, vaccinated, cleared and mobile, it is no wonder why ECBC is recognized as a leading entity that can safely determine unknown samples and recommend follow-up protocols to ensure proper handling.
Part I: What happens to an unknown sample once it is recovered from a project site?
Safety protocols are implemented and the item is secured by trained onsite professionals. The appropriate response agencies are notified, including the Army response agency, CARA, and the non-explosive item is securely transported to ECBC’s Chemical Transfer Facility (CTF) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Explosively configured items are safely transported to a storage bunker at Edgewood. The CTF is the single repository for the Army’s research and development stocks toxic chemical agents and is classified as a Single Small Scale Facility under the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is equipped with personnel and technologies to accurately handle, analyze and identify an unknown substance.