Open Burn & Open Detonation

Many waste propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics and waste munition items are unsafe to treat by conventional methods of hazardous waste management.  Open detonation and open burn operations are used to destroy excess, obsolete, or unserviceable munitions and energetic (i.e., explosive) materials. 

Open burn and open detonation are subject to increasing regulatory restriction that can be found in (TN Rule 0400-12-01-.06(27)) and (TN Rule 0400-12-01-.07(5)(b)9). These standards require that units be operated in a manner that does not threaten human health and the environment and that a minimum safe distance from other properties is maintained when waste explosives are disposed of by open burning and open detonation.

In open burning, materials are destroyed by self-sustained combustion after being ignited.  In open detonation, explosives and munitions are destroyed by a detonation of added explosive charges. Open detonation is also used in emergency situations to destroy munitions and improvised explosive device deemed unsafe to move. 

In the past, these operations occurred at land surface or in pits. Recently, burn trays and blast boxes have been used to control and contain resulting emissions. In detonation processes the blast box may be below grade and covered with soil to further minimize the release of emissions. In cases of emergency situations, temporary barriers are constructed to limit blast, noise, and toxic releases.