The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is performing pilot test demonstrations, preparing the site for chemical weapons destruction operations. The demonstrations provide data for performance indicators to be defined; staff to demonstrate safe and efficient operations; and for environmental compliance to be validated.
“The pilot test plan is important for the plant to demonstrate our processing throughout [the plant] and to verify our emissions are safe, and within regulatory limits,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager. “The demonstrations are mock-up tests to prepare the workforce for the start of operations.”
Plant operators will complete the current testing phase, known as systemization, and transition into the pilot testing phase, starting with gradual introduction of agent-filled munitions into the system. This is expected to happen in early 2016, said Greg Mohrman, site project manager.
The comprehensive testing, in which the entire plant is integrated, is performed in blocks, said Jackson. Block 1, Munitions Receipt and Enhanced Reconfiguration, involves the unpacking of munitions and tests the Projectile/Mortar Disassembly (PMD) system. It shows how the PMD will support the operating schedule, by demonstrating the removal and disposition of energetics. It also allows data to be collected and assessed in order to define operating parameters.
Block 2, Munitions Bodies Treatment, tests the Munitions Washout System, establishing ranges and set points for munition bodies’ cleanliness, and defines operating parameters for the Munitions Treatment Unit, which will complete the decontamination of munition shells, Jackson said.
Block 3, Agent Collection and Neutralization, tests the agent/water separators, agent hydrolyzers and 30-day Hydrolysate Storage Tanks for operating parameters and throughput, Jackson said.
“The throughput results will ultimately drive the operations phase duration,” Jackson said. “We will ramp up slowly to verify the systems are operable, starting at 10, 25, 50, 75 and then 100 percent rates.”
In Block 4, Hydrolysate Treatment and Water Recovery, the Biotreatment System and Biotreatment Off-gas Treatment System, as well as the Brine Reduction System (BRS) will be tested, Jackson said. The removal of thiodiglycol from hydrolysate, odor control and distillate (byproduct of the BRS) acceptable for reuse will be demonstrated.
In Block 5, Supplemental Decontamination, the Supplemental Decontamination Unit and Autoclave will validate decontamination operations and waste handling and disposition. And Block 6, Off-gas Treatment and Air Filtration Area, will demonstrate emissions control. Emissions monitoring will be conducted during each block, Jackson said.
“The process provides information to confirm operating ranges are correct and for alarm set points to be determined,” said Jackson. “Integrated facility demonstrations demonstrate readiness for operations to our stakeholders.”