Two different types of heating devices, similar to industrial-sized kitchen appliances, help the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) decontaminate equipment and wastes.
“Our goal is to get to the lowest possible level of contamination for reuse, when appropriate, or for shipment to an off-site regulated and permitted Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility,” said Brian Jackson, waste management supervisor, PCAPP.
A Supplemental Decontamination Unit (SDU) provides PCAPP the ability to decontaminate contaminated secondary wastes to meet a specified airborne exposure limit. Items are heated up to a maximum of 500 degrees Fahrenheit for a duration required to destroy the agent during decontamination. The potentially contaminated air from within the SDU goes through the Off-gas Treatment System (OTS), Jackson said.
“The SDU is like a convection oven,” said Jackson. “It reduces the agent contamination level to an amount safe for transport.”
Like the SDU, an autoclave decontaminates secondary wastes and reusable nonporous equipment such as tools. Here, the items are heated to maximum temperature of 257 degrees Fahrenheit with steam, and a vacuum is applied to cool the contents. The OTS handles potentially contaminated vapors, said Jackson.
“The autoclave is like a pressure cooker. It provides short-term steam exposure,” Jackson said.
Both processing units are located in the Agent Processing Building and will also be used to treat secondary wastes generated during plant closure.