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Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant (CHAAP)

The Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant (CHAAP) is in Hall County, Nebraska, approximately 3 miles west of the City of Grand Island. The facility, which is owned by the U.S. Army and operated by a contractor, operated intermittently in 1942-73 to produce bombs, shells, boosters, and mines. It is now in standby status.

The 19-square mile Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant is a U.S. Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command facility. On standby status since 1973, the operation leases 16 square miles of land for agriculture, grazing, and wildlife management activities. The plant was built in 1942 to produce munitions and provide support functions during World War II. It has been in and out of production over the years. The plant consists of five main components: five major production areas where munitions were loaded, assembled, and packed; a fertilizer manufacturer; two major storage facilities; a sanitary landfill; and a burning ground where materials contaminated with explosives were ignited. When the plant was active, staff disposed of wastewater contaminated with explosives into 56 earthen surface impoundments, which were located near the five production areas. Dried solids from the bottom of the pits periodically were scraped and ignited at the burning ground.

Wastes containing trinitrotoluene (TNT) and RDX, an experimental explosive, have been disposed through cesspools, leach pits, burning, and burial at many locations at the facility. The wastes have contaminated the aquifer that is the sole source of drinking water for residents in the area. The Army has supplied bottled water to residences whose wells were contaminated and provided funds to the City of Grand Island to extend its municipal water system to serve affected residences. Surface waters have not been affected to date.

The hazardous waste site consists of a major portion of the plant containing the manufacturing area -- load lines 1 through 5, the magazine areas, and the shop area; and waste disposal areas -- the sanitary landfill, demolition area, and burn ground area; and the contaminated aquifer extending east of the plant. The site covers over 9 square miles.

The plant area is underlain by moderately to highly permeable unconsolidated deposits which yield large quantities of good quality ground water for drinking water, agriculture, and industry. Most of the land surrounding the site is used for agriculture and is under irrigation during much of the growing season. The surface is drained through intermittent streams, with the closest continuously flowing water body 5 miles away.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:42:01 ZULU