A group of Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) monitoring technicians sniffs for and identifies odors from the facility to ensure the environmental protection of communities surrounding the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot.
“The purpose and importance of odor monitoring is to ensure the processes PCAPP uses do not disturb the public or create a nuisance,” said Robert Kinsman, senior monitoring technician.
Technicians use an instrument called a field olfactometer to help verify the odor and gauge how strong it is, Kinsman said. The technicians categorize odors in one of the following categories: medicinal, floral, fruity, vegetable, earthy, offensive, fishy or chemical.
“The team is looking for malodorous or suspicious odors,” said Will Reid, monitoring technician.
Regulatory limit is any odor identifiable as emanating from a PCAPP process detectable at the depot property boundary. When technicians discover scents near the odor detection threshold, follow-up actions are initiated to identify the source of the odor and mitigate it, said Paul Warbington, environmental manager.
The team of odor monitoring technicians performs three assessments a day, but when an odor is present, the frequency of patrols increases to determine the intensity, location and drift.
“The first step is to identify the location and cause of the odor and get operations staff to take measures to correct the condition,” Warbington said.
If the initial action does not eradicate the odor, a plant shift manager is notified to integrate the management team, engineering team and plant operators for mitigation.
“This may include measures up to and including shutting down the operation from where the odor is emanating,” Warbington said.
PCAPP procedure calls for measures to mitigate potential odor sources, including deferring potential odor causing activities during adverse climatic conditions and maintaining closed containers and process vessels, said Warbington.