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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Command staff at Fort Jackson announced Friday that trace elements of a potentially toxic chemical were found in ground water on the base.

"The recent testing on Fort Jackson and McCrady Training Center found traces of Royal Demolition Explosive, RDX, in water taken from wells near the southern boundary of the installation," said Brig. Gen. Bradley A. Becker.

Trace elements of the explosive chemical were found during a nationwide series of environmental impact tests called the Operational Range Assessment Program.

"These levels are well below the EPA health advisory level and it shows that the operational range assessment program is doing what it was designed to do and that is to identify issues before they become problems," Becker said.

Preliminary results indicate Fort Jackson tested 0.61ug/L. The EPA doesn't call for action until a site reaches 2.0ug/L.

"It's not a level that requires you to do any kind of reporting. It's not a level that requires any action. It is a level that says 'ok you need to check into this further,'" said Barbara Williams of Fort Jackson's Environmental Management Branch.

Command staff suspect the chemical comes from hand grenades thrown by soldiers during their training.

"Hand grenades are what we use in this range, in this range area," Becker said. "That would be the bulk of it. Quite frankly it's just one range we use them on."

The fort still wants to test 25 wells outside the base boundaries. As of Friday, they've sent letters to 24 homeowners asking for permission to take water samples.

"If we can drink ours for our lifetime and it's not considered a health risk by the EPA, we certainly believe if there is anything at all in any of the homeowners wells, it would not be a health risk," Williams said. "But we need to make sure."

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