Blue Grass plant scientists are testing chemicals to be used on site to make sure they don’t interfere with chemical agent monitoring.
“When a new chemical or material such as paint, caulk, bug spray or weed killer is planned to be used on site, the requesting department must complete a request for interferent testing and we check it out,” said Ryan Russell, laboratory monitoring manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Our instruments are very sensitive and certain non-agent chemicals may cause issues with them.”
A chemical might register on the instrument as a false positive, where it looks like chemical agent in the monitoring results, or a false negative, where it may mask, or hide, the presence of agent. Personnel might over-respond to a false positive or underreact to a false negative, said Jamie Hess, government shift representative, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
“We want to make sure we’re safe and not conditioning ourselves to ignore equipment or alarms,” Hess said. “We test against all of our agent standards, GB, VX and mustard, and will continue to do so throughout the project as new chemicals and materials are used on site.”
Technicians built a database of chemicals and their interference results so they can be easily referenced, Russell said. If a chemical is referenced as an interferent, it should not be used if agent monitoring is present. An alternate product that does not interfere with the agent monitoring system will be used instead.