The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in March issued a new Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for various research and development topic areas.
The ERDC is responsible for conducting research in broad fields including hydraulics, coastal engineering, instrumentation, oceanography, earthquake engineering, soil effects, protective structures, water quality, installation environmental issues, and treatment of hazardous waste.
Highlighted CBRN and health security topics from the BAA include:
Innovative CBRN Protection for Facilities
Proposals are sought which address the need for an improved ability to protect mission critical facilities from attacks using CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear) agents in internal and/or external agent releases. In particular, methodologies for designing, constructing, operating and commissioning CBRN protection systems in a building system are sought. Ideally, the CBRN protection systems should be integrated into the building in such a way that other building systems and functions are not negatively impacted.
Also of interest are methods of optimizing the effectiveness of CBRN systems while minimizing life cycle costs and improving reliability and confidence in the system’s required level of protection as well as cost effective means of certifying and recertifying protection levels of CBRN protection systems
Biological Decontamination of DoD Equipment and Infrastructure
Proposals are desired which address the need for an enhanced capability to protect and rehabilitate DoD equipment and infrastructure after a biological contamination event. Research proposals for the development, application, production, and validation of innovative materials and systems for self-decontaminating surfaces and decontamination sprays are of interest. Candidate decontaminant material systems should be potent, safe, and practical for the target DoD application. Target applications include building protection and remediation, wide area decontamination, and decontamination of corrosion-sensitive equipment and infrastructure.
Biomaterials and Self-Cleaning Surfaces and Coatings
Proposals are sought for novel basic and applied research to address the need for enhanced protection and decontamination of Army installations through interdisciplinary research solutions combining biology, chemistry, and material science. Research to develop biomaterials, surfaces, and coatings that address topics including, but not limited to, microbial induced corrosion (MIC), biofilms, pathogens, and environmental pollutants. Examples of technologies include, but are not limited to, bioinorganic materials, self-cleaning and decontaminating surfaces and coatings, foams, nanostructured surfaces, and protein based materials.
Innovative Technology for Environmental Sensors and Tools
This program is actively developing field-based tools and sensors to conduct rapid site characterization/screening for environmental contaminants. Additional research is needed in the areas of novel sensing technologies for detection of chemical and biological contaminants allowing for rapid field-based data acquisition. Also, research is needed to develop technologies and platforms allowing for rapid data analysis/interpretation/reporting. Fundamental measurements and models that define or predict the performance of new sensing methods in soil, water and air are also of interest.
Innovative Technologies for Treating Hazardous Waste and Contaminated Surface and Ground Waters
Technologies and strategies to treat complex organic- and metal-contaminated hazardous liquids, off-gases, soils sludges, sediments, and residuals from past disposal practices. Research is divided into two major categories: technologies for treating contaminated soils and sediments, and innovative technologies for treating contaminated surface and ground waters.
Design, Evaluation, Verification and Modeling of Solid and Hazardous Wastes and Contaminated Sediments
Presently, efforts are continuing to develop water balance and leachate models for solid waste disposal systems and dredged material disposal facilities. Additional work is needed to model innovative designs, nonsoil surface materials, cobbled surfaces, preferential flow through heterogeneous waste materials and other layers, and effects of complex mixtures of vegetation including trees. Similarly, additional work is needed to verify the existing models.
Environmental Hazard Identification
This is the process of showing causality (i.e., a chemical or complex mixture can cause some adverse effect). If this causality can be demonstrated, the chemical is referred to as a “hazard.” If there is no causal link, risk need not be quantified. Important target receptors are also identified by this stage (for example, humans, endangered species, ecologically or economically important species). Research is conducted to develop the technology for hazard identification and the establishment of causality.
Environmental Effects Assessment
While Hazard Identification decides if a chemical or complex mixture is toxic; Effects Assessment establishes the relationship of the toxicant dose and associated biological response. This is accomplished via experimental research in which surrogate species are exposed to gradients (spatial, concentration, etc.) of the hazard in question, and biological effects are monitored. Biologically important endpoints measured include survival, growth, reproduction and population-level parameters. These endpoints must be accompanied by technically sound interpretive guidance. Results are expressed in dose-response or exposure-response relationships.
In Exposure Assessment, the magnitude, frequency and duration of contaminant exposure relative to the target receptor(s) are determined. This research is model-intensive, with both descriptive and quantitative models being used to evaluate pathways and routes. A pathway exists if the hazard travels between the initial source of contamination and the ultimate biological receptor. An exposure route is pathway that the chemical contacts the receptor (for example, ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption, bioaccumulation, trophic transfer). Analysis of the uncertainty associated with these exposure assessments is also conducted.
Biodegradation of Contaminants
Studies in the biodegradation area emphasize destruction of organic contaminants for remediation purposes. Emphasis is on delineating biodegrative pathways; determining intermediate and final products and by-products; (assessing the role of environmental factors in regulating the pathways utilized and the rate and extent of destruction of the parent compound; determining the survival and activity of microorganisms added to soils, sediments, and biotreatment systems; and enhancing biodegradation to obtain the maximum destruction of organic contaminants within a soil, sediment, or treatment system.
Electro-osmotic Technology for Water and Chemical Containment
Electro-osmosis is the transport of cations due to the application of an external electric field. Because of the molecular binding nature of water molecules, water molecules are transported along with the cations. This technique has been used in civil engineering to dewater dredgings and other high-water content waste solids, consolidate clays, strengthen soft sensitive clays, and increase the capacity of pile foundations.
Further details are available via Solicitation Number: W912HZ15BAA01. The BAA remains open until superseded.