The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) has entered pilot testing, the phase preceding full-scale operations.
“Pilot testing is when agent-filled munitions are introduced into the plant under increasing process rates and demonstrates that personnel, facilities and equipment can process munitions safely, compliantly and as designed,” said John Jackson, plant support technical specialist.
It’s a period of data gathering that will allow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to grant PCAPP its Part B permit, which is needed to operate the plant, Jackson said.
“The testing allows us to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment processes, as well as the emission control system,” said Kevin Mackey, permitting unit lead, Hazardous Waste Permitting Unit, CDPHE. “The gradual ramp up will let us see how emission control devices and treatment systems perform as we incrementally increase the number of munitions processed.”
Pilot testing is required by PCAPP’s Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit. The RD&D permit allows for testing that is designed to maximize operational flexibility by assessing site emissions over a wide range of operating conditions. Emissions data will be collected during pilot testing to demonstrate that cumulative site emissions from site stacks do not exceed the Multi-Pathway Health Risk Assessment limits, Jackson said.
“We will monitor emissions during pilot testing and throughout operations,” Mackey said.
During the pilot test phase, approximately 25 percent of the 155mm stockpile will be destroyed. Upon completion of the 16-week phase, the project will transition into full-scale operations, said Jackson.
In addition to environmental permitting aspects, the pilot phase of operations includes ramp-up, testing, demonstration, and an integrated facility demonstration to confirm operations meet system performance criteria.
“A tremendous amount of work has been done to get us to the pilot test phase,” Jackson said.