The Department of Homeland Security is planning on conducting multiple chemical tests at Chilocco Indian School Campus near Newkirk, Oklahoma
DHS plans to release low-levels of inert chemical and biological stimulant materials outside of the campus
S&T is studying the penetration capabilities of a biological stimulant against buildings
People have until December 8, to voice their argument against the upcoming tests
The Department of Homeland Security plans to release a low-level of inert chemical and biological stimulant materials outside of the Chilocco Indian School Campus near Newkirk, Oklahoma.
“The Environmental Assessment of Proposed Tracer Particle and Biological Releases for the Hazards of Dynamic Outdoor Release (HODOR) Project” is a series of chemical tests set to occur in January/February 2018, and again in June/July 2018.
The HODOR program supports DHS’s strategic goals to detect and recover from biological attacks and inform and support biodefense planning, response, and restoration, particularly in consequence/risk assessment modeling of the indoor hazards posed by outdoor aerosols. Characterizing the impact of biological weapons on infrastructure is a key element to achieving this goal.
DHS Science and Technology Directorate
DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is studying the penetration capabilities of “biological stimulant” into two different buildings at Chilocco Campus to “inform and support biodefense planning, response, and restoration, particularly in consequence/risk assessment modeling of the indoor hazards posed by outdoor aerosols.”
Testing will be conducted through the release of (2) different inert powders as well as barcoded spores and are meant to simulate the behavior of harmful biological materials as they move from the outdoors into buildings. The inert powders are 1) titanium dioxide (TiO2) and 2) urea powder mixed with 10% Cl Fluorescent Brightener 220 optical brightener. Both types of powders allow for the gross mapping of particle penetration into the different building types. TiO2 is a chemically inert powder commonly used in paints, food, cosmetics, and insecticides. Urea is the main chemical found in human and mammalian urine and is used throughout the world as a fertilizer. Optical brighter is a chemical whitener added to toothpastes and laundry detergents to increase fluorescence. For this study the optical brighter is added to the urea, to increase particle visibility for detection, at a weight percent of < 10%.
People have until December 8, 2017, to voice their arguments agaisnt the upcoming tests. To submit a comment, DHS requested the public to email [email protected], or mail comments to S&T CBD Mail Stop 0201, 245 Murray Ln SW, Washington, DC 20528-0201.
Residents in the area are worried about the idea of chemical tests so close to their daily lives. Jill Wineinger began a petition on Change.org asking for 1,500 signatures. At the time of this article, the petition had gained over 1,200 signatures.
In the petition’s description, Wineinger claims the test area is barely one mile away from where children go to school. Wineinger also voices her shared environmental concerns.
Dear Department of Homeland Security,
Recently it has come to our attention that you are planning a test of inert Chemicals and Biological Stimulant Materials at our sacred Chilocco Indian School site.
Our children go to school barely 1 mile away from Chilocco. We grow the crops in that area that feed our Nation. We live our lives in the community. There are Churches, an Elementary school, casinos, and many residential homes in very close proximity to Chilocco. We are extremely concerned about the effects that unknown testing can have on our groundwater and air quality. We are simply concerned about long term pollution. We have not one, but two major rivers that flow within a few miles from there. Thousands of people from our area and surrounding areas go to play right next door. This area may not seem very populated to you but this is our land, our water, our air, and our crops.
We are simply opposed to any plan of any testing of chemicals in this area. There is no way that you could possible know the long term effects that this may have on our community.
PLEASE, stop the testing. Save the lives of our children and grandchildren.
We hope this letter gets to you long before December 8th, 2017.
Environmental Assessment Draft
According to the draft of the environmental assessment, “Particulate matter will be released as dry or wet aerosols at release Positions A and B. Wet aerosol dissemination will be performed using purified water that will rapidly evaporate upon dispersal. Dispersion rates during a release will maximize up to 60 grams of particulate matter per minute over a 10-minute time period, for a total dispersion up to 600 grams (1.3 lbs).”
The draft states the “inert and biological materials” being used in these tests are “nontoxic to both the public and environment at the concentrations being released.”
Once the biological modified material is released, commercial sensors and collection equipment are used to “measure the particulates outside and inside the buildings of interest.”
These sensors include portable real time particle counters (RTPs), dry filter cassettes, (DFUs), personnel cascade impactors, biological impactors, high volume aerosol samplers (HVAS), and real time fluorescent particle counters, Instantaneous Bioaerosol Analyzer and Collector (IBAC) units.
DHS claims the area was desirable for these chemical tests for multiple reasons.
Minimal proximity from the public.
Unoccupied for daily use.
Release positions in a wind prominent direction.
No obstructions within 20 meters of the building.
Maximum distance from nearby pond and any aquatic life.
Ability to environmentally sample the building over a course of hours to weeks, to months, with limited human movement traffic at or around the structure.
The current proposed location, the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, located adjacent to the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and EOO18 Road, approximately 7 miles north of Newkirk, OK and 6 miles south of Arkansas City, KS.
Council Of Confederate Chilocco Tribes
The landholders, Council of Confederate Chilocco Tribes (CCCT), entered an agreement with UML for the campus to be used for these chemical tests. UML is a non-profit research laboratory supporting national security tests, and federal agencies such as DHS, Oklahoma Army National Guard, and the Department of Defense.
The CCCT was established on August 2, 2000, “under the Chilocco Treaty with the Kaw Nation, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, the Pawnee Nation, the Ponca Nation, and the Tonkawa Tribe.” These five Native American governments work jointly to oversee the school, which was active from 1884, until 1980. In 2006, the campus was registered in the National Register of Historic Places.
The entire environmental assessment draft can be read in full below.DHS HODOR Enviromental Assessment 10 25 2017-508