Testing was performed at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) in February to determine what a failure in the Munitions Washout System (MWS) would mean during full-scale operations.
“Members of the Hazardous Waste Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) wanted to know how we would determine if a failure occurred in the MWS,” said John Jackson, plant support specialist, PCAPP. “Key indicators of heel were reviewed while processing in the Munitions Treatment Unit (MTU).”
Technicians performed testing to determine what would happen if unwanted agent remained in the munition body after the washout cycle – an event they call high heel testing. For the test, which is a requirement of the Pilot Test Demonstration Plan, heel was intentionally left inside munition bodies and run through the MTU to demonstrate how the instrumentation reacted when residual agent was being destroyed.
“We knew there would be higher than normal heat levels due to volatilization of the heel,” Jackson said.
Jackson said when heel was run through the MTU, the team saw significant carbon dioxide spikes. Off-gas temperature also increased and the Off-gas Treatment System (OTS) filters began to clog.
“MTU zone temperatures went higher than normal, which had a visible effect on the munition coatings,” he said.
PCAPP staff gathered enough data during the first heel test to satisfy CDPHE requirements.
“The heel test conclusively demonstrated which parameters would indicate an unwashed munition was fed to the MTU and will enable the plant to secure operations and correct the condition if found during normal operations,” Jackson said.
Like other pilot test demonstrations, emissions data was collected at the OTS, Agent Filtration Area (AFA) and AFA stack and sent for analysis. The data will then be reviewed by CDPHE and will need to be approved before full-scale operations can begin.