Operations Paused at Pueblo Pilot Plant

Three 30-day storage tanks hold hydrolysate until enough is accumulated for transfer to Immobilized Cell Bioreactors, where it is further broken down.

Two unrelated incidents resulted in a pause of chemical weapons destruction operations at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP).

While neither event posed any danger to the workforce or surrounding communities, they have temporarily affected the operations associated with disassembling the 155mm munitions and subsequent destruction of mustard agent, said Greg Mohrman, site project manager, PCAPP.

On Nov. 20, a seal failure at an agitator located on a 30-day storage tank caused an industrial hazardous waste spill of approximately 450 gallons of hydrolysate, the product of the chemical neutralization process, Mohrman said.

“The staff responsible for spill response performed exceedingly well when the seals allowed hydrolysate to leak into the spill containment sump,” said Mohrman. “Plant activities were immediately paused until the leak was stopped and the spilled wastewater cleaned up.”

PCAPP staff discovered damage to the liner of the secondary containment system surrounding the Brine Concentrator Feed Tanks Nov. 23 after a period of heavy rain. These tanks hold the effluent produced in the Immobilized Cell Bioreactors and are essential to the operation of the biotreatment process, Mohrman said.

Recovery and clean-up actions continue, including a root cause analysis of the two events, Mohrman said.

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