The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Explosive Destruction System (PCAPP EDS) has reached the halfway point in its first campaign to destroy problematic chemical munitions stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD). As of July 7, 2015, the EDS has eliminated 283 items, including 10 Department of Transportation bottles, 243 105mm projectiles and 30 4.2-inch mortar rounds.
“The halfway point is a good time to think about the successful progress to date,” said Bruce Huenefeld, PCAPP EDS site project manager. “It was reached about three weeks ahead of schedule thanks to the EDS crews and their diligent efforts to follow all procedures and look for process improvements.”
Each day begins with staff checking the monitoring equipment and the lab, followed by a crew safety briefing and daily operations order. The crew follows a pre-operational inspection checklist to ensure each piece of equipment is operating properly. Next, weather conditions are checked, as are power sources and water. The communication system is verified operational, and the availability of emergency services and security is confirmed.
Before operations can begin, the required number of personnel needed to perform an operation is established. Munitions are removed from a storage igloo, unpacked and loaded onto the EDS. “The PCD Operations Center and Chemical Operations units have delivered munitions and provided support and oversight for each day of operations,” said Huenefeld. “We couldn’t have reached the halfway milestone early without the depot’s partnership and support.”
After detonation, neutralent is pumped in and the vessel is rotated. A neutralent sample is collected and analyzed, and then drained from the vessel. Water is added to the vessel, and steam heated for two hours, reaching 100 degrees Celsius. After the hot water is drained, the vessel is filled with cold water, rotated and drained. The EDS door is opened and an air sample is collected and analyzed. Finally, the vessel is cleaned and prepared for the next day.
One detonation, known as a “shot,” is conducted per day and may consist of up to six munitions. The schedule first called for the destruction of Department of Transportation bottles, then 105mm projectiles. On June 18, three 4.2-inch mortar rounds, the second type of munition to be processed, were combined with three 105mm munitions.
Earlier this month, 155mm munitions were introduced. At first, just three were eliminated in the EDS vessel in as many shots. After mixing in different configurations (i.e., three 155mm rounds with two 105mm projectiles; three 155s and three 105s; three 155 rounds and three 4.2-inch mortars, etc.), the EDS will move to processing the majority of the 155mm projectiles in shots using the ‘six-pack’ configuration.