From the start of main plant operations to the conclusion of the first Explosive Destruction System (EDS) campaign, the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) achieved many milestones in 2016.
“The start-up of the facility reflects the diligence and determination of multiple local, state and federal agencies, all dedicated to ensuring safe, secure and environmentally sound operations,” said Greg Mohrman, site project manager, PCAPP.
September 7, 2016, marked the beginning of PCAPP’s pilot testing phase. 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.
Earlier in the year, prior to the start of main plant operations, the first campaign of the EDS came to a successful conclusion.
“Completion of the campaign allowed the United States to report more than 1.91 U.S. tons of agent destroyed to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” said Mohrman.
It took a lot of work to prepare the plant for operations. During the summer months, systemization of the Biotreatment Area (BTA) came to a conclusion. Hydrolysate, the product of the chemical agent neutralization process, which is primarily made up of thiodiglycol (TDG), will be processed in the BTA. Preliminary results from surrogate testing showed greater than 99 percent TDG removal, said Dr. Jim Earley, chief scientist, PCAPP.
From there, Integrated Operations Demonstrations introduced inert munitions and water into the plant to simulate agent operations.
Finally, baseline reconfiguration began and continues today. During this process, boxed munitions are removed from wooden boxes and fiberboard tubes in preparation for processing through the main plant.
“Pilot testing will continue until agent destruction is confirmed and all safety requirements and environmental permits are successfully completed,” Mohrman said.