Chemical and conventional ammunition dumped in the Baltic Sea and in the Skagerrak contains a wide range of hazardous substances. Considering the growing use of the seabed for economic purposes, such as offshore wind farms and pipelines, the likelihood of disturbing dumped containers with chemical warfare agents (CWA), causing direct emissions to the surrounding environment and risk of human and wildlife exposure, is increasing.
In addition, the containers are deteriorating due to e.g. corrosion. For these reasons there is an ongoing discussion on how to assess and manage the environmental risk of dumped ammunition, especially in areas where their location is likely to cause a conflict with maritime activities. DAIMON increased the knowledge base on how to evaluate the risks and benefits of various management options.
The environmental effects of some of these substances, such as arsenic compounds, are well known, while in other cases the knowledge is insufficient to make proper risk assessments. DAIMON developed techniques for the assessment of impacts of the dumped ammunition on ecosystem, maritime activities and humans as seafood consumers. This was done by performing laboratory and studies in both shallow and deep waters for chemical and conventional munitions, and development of biological and chemical assessment methods. During case studies the risk associated with selected corroding warfare objects (individual and wrecks filled with munitions) were closely examined. Management scenarios were developed for each object, and assessed regarding their possible impact on environment, and cost vs. cost of no-action. Also the cost of lost environmental services was estimated, which in the case of some methods is higher than the short term savings.
On the basis of all this information an intelligent decision-aid software (the DAIMON DSS) was created in consultation with the relevant maritime authorities, which were at all stages involved in project activities. This tool proposes and describes a management strategy most feasible for the given case and framework conditions. It has been tested on DAIMON case study areas in order to create a best practice collection on the management of marine ammunitions in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond.