U.S. ARMY PUEBLO CHEMICAL DEPOT, Colo. – After more than ten months of operation at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD), Colorado, the Explosive Destruction System, or EDS, at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP), successfully concluded its first campaign Feb. 11 destroying previously overpacked problematic munitions in advance of the initiation of operations at the main plant. The elimination of four mustard agent-filled 105mm projectiles marked the last destruction event in the first of a series of campaigns for the EDS.
“With a total team effort, the U.S. Army is one step closer to eliminating the obsolete chemical munitions stored at the depot since the 1950s. Ensuring the safety of the community, our workforce and the environment continues to be our focus moving forward,” said Col. Thomas A. Duncan II, PCD commander.
The EDS is an Army system used to destroy 560 overpacked items that had been stored in sealed containers.
“The overpacked munitions included those that had leaked in the past or had been sampled during previous quality surveillance programs. In the future the PCAPP EDS will be used to destroy problematic munitions from the main plant whose condition does not allow for automated processing,” said Gregory B. Mohrman, PCAPP site project manager.
“The initial 560 overpacked munitions stored by PCD and destroyed by the EDS accounted for less than .02 percent of the total Pueblo chemical weapons stockpile,” Mohrman said. “The stockpile now amounts to fewer than 780,000 155mm and 105mm artillery projectiles, as well as 4.2-inch mortar rounds which all contain the blister agent mustard.”
PCAPP, which is currently completing systemization, is slated to initiate plant operations this spring by entering into its pilot testing phase before beginning full-scale agent destruction operations later this year.
“In the weeks ahead, the EDS will be decontaminated, and all remaining secondary waste products will be disposed of in strict accordance with Colorado state and federal environmental regulations,” said Michael J. Strong, deputy site project manager. “After that the EDS site will be temporarily closed until the end of the main plant’s first campaign which will involve the destruction of more than 299,000 155mm projectiles. At that time we will then re-open the site to destroy the problematic munitions.” This cycle will be repeated for the 105mm and 4.2-inch mortar campaigns that will follow and lead to complete disposal of the stockpile at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.