The United States is one step closer to destroying weaponized nerve and mustard agent stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot, near Richmond, Kentucky, after completing construction of the 19-acre Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) facility in October 2015.
“We’re very proud to say that we finished two years ahead of the baseline, in terms of reaching this milestone of construction complete,” said Jeff Brubaker, site project manager.
As the construction phase ends, Brubaker said he recognizes the more than 3,000 individuals who contributed to building the pilot plant safely and efficiently.
“I want to say thank you to each of those employees,” said Brubaker. “Their talents, knowledge and capabilities played a huge part in completing the facility safely and ahead of schedule.”
Smaller construction-related projects will continue in the coming months and years with additional fencing, a waste storage area and paving scheduled to be complete about a year from now, said Doug Omichinski, project manager.
With the design and construction phases now finished, the project transitions into the systemization, or testing, phase, Omichinski said. Systemization encompasses all the planning, technical work, training and testing activities required to ensure that once destruction operations start, they run safely and smoothly.
“We’ve got to prove that this equipment works as an integrated system,” said Omichinski. “And more importantly, we now have to hire our operating team. We have some base personnel with operations experience but we’re also going to rely on the community and others with expertise to come here and help operate this facility.”
Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG) is the systems contractor chosen by the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives to design, build, test, operate and close BGCAPP. The BPBG team is a joint venture of Bechtel National Inc. and Parsons Government Services Inc., with teaming partners: AECOM, Battelle Memorial Institute, GP Strategies Corporation and General Atomics.
All of these companies have been involved collectively in designing, building and operating each of the nine U.S. chemical demilitarization facilities.