News | May 1, 2019

Hazardous Inventory

By Douglas Smith, director of DLA Energy Aerospace Energy

One particular challenge Defense Logistics Agency Energy is facing to obtain a clean audit is verifying inventory levels for some hazardous products, in particular hypergolic propellants like hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide used for space launch and related programs. 

In order to establish a certifiable beginning inventory balance that complies with audit expectations, DLA would need to physically verify these hazardous products. This would require the products be removed from tanks, transferred to trailers, weighed and returned to tanks. 

However, hypergols are extremely hazardous and require very special handling. In fact, for any transfer operation the weather must be just right and the wind speed and direction must meet specific criteria. Personnel handling the products are at risk for inhaling vapors or exposure and must don a Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble, or SCAPE, suit.    

Therefore, DLA Energy keeps the transfer movements of the bulk hypergolic product inventory to a minimum and has been discussing with EY the options or alternatives available to meet audit requirements while mitigating unnecessary risk to life and limb through the potential inhalation or other challenges these hazardous products introduce. 

DLA Energy hopes to develop a plan with EY so these products don’t interfere with DLA’s ability to obtain a clean audit and are working diligently to have necessary evidentiary matter and a reasonable approach for these products.