The first campaign of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) Explosive Destruction System (EDS) came to a successful conclusion Feb. 11 when four 105mm projectiles were verified destroyed.
“Our last shot was verified complete when the vessel door was opened to examine the remaining fragments of the final four remaining 105mm projectiles,” said Greg Mohrman, site project manager, PCAPP.
“Completion of this campaign allows the United States to report more than 1.91 U.S. tons of agent destroyed to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),” Mohrman said. The OPCW is the international organization in charge of enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention, a multilateral arms control treaty which prohibits the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.
The system began disposing of munitions deemed unsuitable for processing in the main plant nearly one year ago in March 2015. PCAPP EDS successfully eliminated 560 items, including 196 155mm projectiles, 265 105 projectiles, 88 4.2-inch mortar rounds and 11 Department of Transportation bottles, said Steve Bird, project lead, Recovered Chemical Materiel Directorate, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity, which owns the EDS.
“The first campaign was performed safely by the workforce, while protecting the environment and was completed on schedule,” Bird said.
This campaign was completed by a multi-agency team which included the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, the Joint Program Executive Office, Chemical and Biological Defense, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity and the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.
Staff is now decontaminating the system, cleaning up the site and preparing for temporary closure. The site will reopen to destroy rejects and contaminated energetics from the main plant’s first destruction campaign, which will consist of 155mm projectiles. The site will temporarily close and then reopen for subsequent campaigns of 105mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortars, Bird said.
PCAPP EDS is estimated to eliminate up to 1,300 items before completing its mission in 2019, Mohrman said.