The Bomb Bio-Remediation Squad Wore Wool

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph. D.

Dr. Morrie Craig is a large person who really fills a room.  I remember him as a usually smiling, remarkably fast-moving man on a mission.  During most of my time with him at Argonne National Laboratory I just tried to keep up.

The Environmental Research (ER) Division was working to devise methods to clean up soil and water contaminated by munitions manufacturing activities.  The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant began operations in 1940 (1, 2) and by the time we started our research project some of the waste materials had incubated on that site for almost a half century.  These discards do not improve with age and by the time I saw the material known as ‘red water’ (3) it had weathered into a deep maroon color.  The toxic leftovers of processes used to purify 2, 4, 6-trinitrotoluene…

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